THE SANCAI SWORD MANUAL OF XU YIQIAN

三才劍圖解
ILLUSTRATED SANCAI SWORD
胥以謙
by Xu Yiqian
[1936]

[translation by Paul Brennan, Dec, 2020]

三才劍序 王煥鑣覺吾
PREFACE BY WANG HUANBIAO, CALLED JIAOWU

余少體羸多病,十八患疔幾殆,乃始翟。然從友人習刺擊諸術,已果有效,而是時胥君心一以恆授余以王家拳,王家拳者,縣人王越羣氏字燕舟所剏,習焉者稀矣,惟胥君父兄傳其術獨精,余因詣其家謁其尊人懷澄先生,先生高年耽靜,喜余之至,忽超踊如少壯人,其兄吉六以謙亦出技遍肄之,用相娛樂,余之識吉六自此始,吉六隱市沽間,長不滿七尺,目光炯炯,能為顏真卿書,閒為文,辭簡而有意,望之踆踆焉如不勝衣,詎知其武藝之工如此,又焉能測其意之所至耶。其後余游江南,不相聞者十餘年,值風雨晦明之際,時時念吉六,以為若斯人果遂沉沒而不出耶,乙亥之秋,余館金陵盋山,有持所為書來見者,吉六也,大喜,詢之,則已從張公之江游,朝莫持盈尺之管,為國術館編拳術教本,成書數種矣。今年夏,又以所編三才劍見示,且屬為序。吉六技日專,文日工,不僅能狀其動作之形于外者毫髮無遺憾,又并其精微之意而傳之,雖其胸之所存未必遂止於此,然可藉此稍稍自見於世,余復何恨,惟余讀漢書藝文志,兵家技巧一門所列書目有百九十九篇,其所謂手搏者,疑即拳術劍道者,蓋劍術也,其一時之盛可知已,後世一命為文人,便以習武為羞,而椎魯之夫傳習於里巷,又不能文之以言其動作之意,以廣其流衍,而其用,亦僅限于自衛餬口,未有知為自強保種之資者,近日學校始曉然於體育之重,又但學外國距躍曲踊競走鬥泳蹴鞠擲餅諸術,莫有以此為意者,開設科目,比之附庸而已,夫外國之術或失之激,孱者為之窮力盡氣,顏沮色喪,扶持久而後復,此豈有益於身哉。中國武術,操之愈勤,而功愈見,練之愈熟,而效愈出,運及周身而不滯於方隅,出之和平而無分於強弱,健身之法,莫善於此,寶燕石而棄趙璧者,其為不知類歟。今中央國術館,成立有年,張公提倡于上,奇材異能之士日至,吉六復能文之以辭,一洗往日之陋,吾知國術之興殆不遠矣,若由是而推及寰區,使舉世之人,雲從風行,盡登壽域,豈不懿哉,豈不懿哉。
民國二十五年九月四日愚弟王煥鑣序於浙江大學
When I was young, my body was frail and I was often ill. By the time I had suffered the twentieth boil on my skin, I began to feel alarmed about the situation. I thereupon learned various martial arts from friends, which indeed had an effect on my health, but much more so when I learned Wang Family Boxing from the focused and dedicated Xu Yiqian.
  Wang Family Boxing was created by Wang Yuequn, called Yanzhou, a native of Nantong. Practitioners of it are very rare and Xu’s father passed it down to him alone. I had visited Xu’s father, Xu Huaicheng, because of the achievements of their family. He was already an old man settled into his retirement, but he was happy to receive me and suddenly demonstrated a leap as impressive as that of a robust young man. His eldest son Jiliu, called Yiquan, had also learned many skills for his own enjoyment. My acquaintance with Xu Yiqian thus began because of this.
  Xu is a somewhat reclusive man and does not stand out since he is not remarkably tall, though his eyes are very bright. He is skillful at calligraphy in the style of Yan Zhenqing and he writes compositions in language that is simple and deliberate. He has the unassuming look of a scholar, as though his clothes are about to overwhelm him, and so it is surprising and unexpected for such a man to also be skillful at martial arts.
  I later traveled south of the Yangzte River and lost touch with him for more than ten years due to the distraction of various hardships, though I frequently thought about him and wondered if he had simply vanished into obscurity. In the autumn of 1935, I came to study at the Martial Arts Institute in Nanjing and was delighted to find that Xu Yiqian was there. He had come at the request of Zhang Zhijiang, who was unsatisfied with the Institute’s literary output. Xu has thus been producing boxing arts textbooks, several of which have since been published. In the summer of this year, he showed me his manuscript for the Sancai [“Three Realms”] Sword set, and he urged me to write a preface for it.
  He both practices his skills and writes about them every day, and thus not only are his movements flawless in appearance, he is also able to transmit the deeper ideas of these arts. Instead of being satisfied at having obtained his own understanding, he goes further and shares this material with the world, which seems to me to be quite impeccable conduct.
  I read in the “Bibliographical Records” in the Book of Han that there were a hundred ninety-nine chapters on military skills, among them “six chapters on bare-handed fighting” and “thirty-eight chapters on swordsmanship”, and so we can know that such things already had a strong presence in those early days. However, scholars in later generations became embarrassed to practice martial arts, and it was left to simpler men to pass it down in alleyways. These illiterate men were incapable of writing down the principles in order to further the spread of martial arts. The purpose of these arts was therefore limited to self-defense and bodyguard services, and their value as a means of strengthening the masses was not yet understood.
  Schools have recently come to know the value of physical education, but have only been utilizing foreign forms of exercise, such as: long jump, high jump, running, swimming, soccer, discus throwing, and so on. To start a school without having these things in the curriculum would look downright amateurish. However, foreign exercises are too intense for weaker people, draining all of their energy until they look completely demoralized and then requiring they take a long time to recover. How can this be beneficial for the body?
  The practicing of Chinese martial arts is very different. The more diligently you work at it, the more results you will see, and the more refined your skill becomes, the more the effects will show. It is a means of exercising the whole body rather than overemphasizing any particular part. It is a moderate form of exercise rather than being suitable only for the strong. There is no better method for invigorating the body. Those who do not understand this show a total lack of discernment, like someone who treasures stones from the Kingdom of Yan and discards jade from the Kingdom of Zhao.
  It has now been a good many years since the Central Martial Arts Institute was established. Its director Zhang Zhijiang has been promoting it well and more martial arts masters are drawn to it each day, including Xu Yiqian with his literary skill which will help to wash away the uneducated past that is associated with practitioners. I am sure that a prosperous age for our martial arts is not far away, that they will spread throughout the nation and become so popular that they will live on forever. How marvelous it will be.
  - written by Wang Huanbiao at Zhejiang University, Sep 4, 1936

三才劍序 鎮江黃乃楨雲潭
PREFACE BY HUANG NAIZHEN, CALLED YUNTAN, OF ZHENJIANG

聞之項羽曰,劍一人敵,不足學,嘗快其語以為雄放,今乃知西楚之所以亡,蓋誤於劍不足學也,劍小技耳,然不能審敵之虛實以為進退,雖弄之如丸,終亦無用,彼項羽不能知劍之為用,故劉季之以退為進,以靜待動,又烏能測其意之所在,當其策騎東歸,以為天下莫能余毒,而劉季已提三尺之鋒扼其吭而洞其胸,猶自謂天亡我,非戰之罪,嗚呼,何其愚也,嚮使項羽能知劍之虛實而神其用,並以施之於戰陣,彼劉季何能為哉,今胥子吉六,以項羽之不足學者,而孜孜不能釋,豈不知現代飛機大炮之足畏,而猶盤旋作態以自娛說,蓋三才之劍,欲窮其用,必相起對舞,而兵家動靜虛實之理,勝敗存亡之道,實在其中,能明乎此,而後可以張中國,挫暴敵,吾又烏敢以為劍一人敵而小之。
民國二十七年三月序於西安
Xiang Yu said: [Historical Records, chapter 7]: “The sword is only good for dealing with one opponent at a time, and so it’s not worth learning. What I need to learn is how to defeat thousands of opponents.” His words seem at first to have a boldness, but we have since learned from the defeat of his kingdom of Western Chu that swords are not insufficient after all. The sword art is only a lesser skill if you are unable to detect whether the opponent is performing a feint or a real technique, in order for you to determine how to advance and retreat, because then even if you can wield a sword as easily as playing with a marble, it will be of no use to you.
  Because Xiang Yu was not able to understand the function of the sword, Liu Ji [Liu Bang] was able to employ the strategies of using retreat as advance and awaiting movement with stillness. Baffled by what Liu Bang was doing, Xiang Yu was driven back to the east [where the kingdom of “Western” Chu was located], forced to retreat to keep from being overwhelmed by everyone. Liu Bang simply raised his three-foot sword and the effect was as though he had clutched Xiang Yu by the throat and run him through. Xiang Yu defiantly proclaimed [before committing suicide]: “It is fate that vanquishes me, not battle.” Alas, how could he have been so foolish? If only he had learned the subtle uses of the sword and applied them on the battlefield, what would Liu Bang have been able to do?
  In contrast with Xiang Yu’s attitude that the sword is not worth studying, Xu Yiqian has instead worked hard and ceaselessly to understand it, treating it with the same respect given to modern weaponry such as airplanes and artillery, which have certainly shown they are worth fearing and cannot be complacently ignored as mere amusements. In the case of Sancai Sword, fully understanding its uses requires practicing it as a two-person set. The military principles of movement and stillness, fake and real, as well as the pathways to victory or defeat, survival or destruction, are to be found within the partner practice and will be made clear by means of it. Equipped with such an understanding, the art is ready to be spread throughout the nation and used to defeat enemies. How then could we dare to demean the sword by saying that it is only good for fighting one opponent at a time?
  - written in Xi’an [in Shaanxi], March, 1938 [1936]

三才劍序 青田廖家駒迅甫
PREFACE BY LIAO JIAJU, CALLED XUNFU, OF QINGTIAN COUNTY

擊劍小技耳,昔吾儒俱能之,而世主忌之,不欲儒者習其事,乃餌之以科名,誘之以富貴,使專致力於文章,其故何哉,蓋世主當伏處草莽之際,結擊劍刺槍弄刀舞棒之徒,以乘人之弊,取其國而自代,及其既定,又恐儒者挾其才智技能,亦藉擊劍刺槍弄刀舞棒之徒以覆其國,而夷其威福,故以右文為倡,付武事於走卒販夫,引之為材官,為一己爪牙,而束約儒者之才智技能,使移其心思知識於辭章,更限之以中程,於是儒者遂窮於斯,老於斯,不復有弸彍大業之圖,而後世主乃淂肆然安於枕席,傳其威福於子孫,此劍術之所以離於儒者之教,而流為走卒販夫也,其幸者則躍而為材官,不幸者則流為江湖賣藝餬口之人也久矣,光復後,國內有識之士,鑒於國勢淩夷,土地被侵,非尚武不足以圖強,乃大聲疾呼,提倡吾儒固有之劍術,以鍛鍊吾民體魄,而走卒販夫江湖賣藝餬口之技,遂復取而為用,名之曰國術,以與國文相提并論,從此文章之士,亦習武事,造成智勇兼備之才,以挽回孱弱之頹風,強種保國之道,其在茲乎。吾友南通胥以謙吉六,嗜讀書,能文章,且善擊劍,蓋不愧夫儒者之本色,有合於昔儒者也,今著三才劍成書,索予為序,予不知劍術,祇知其為昔吾儒應有事,而為巧黠之世主所廢,久墜於儒道以外而不自知而已,惟吉六能知之,而能善習之,且著其書以問世,故為之序。
民國二十五年九月二十一日青田廖家駒迅甫序於南京
Swordsmanship may be a lesser skill, but our scholars in ancient times were all highly capable with swords. Rulers eventually decided scholars should not engage in such training, and thereafter enticed them with promises of fame and wealth to devote all of their energy to literature instead, leaving them with no reason to practice the sword art anymore.
  The ruler confined scholars to a kind of wilderness, knowing that practitioners of sword, spear, saber, or staff are trained to take advantage of an opponent’s flaws, and thus might seize the country and replace his dynasty with a new one. Fearing that scholars equipped with both intellectual skill and also skill with weapons could overthrow the kingdom, he therefore pacified their potential with a carrot-and-stick method encouraging accomplishment in the literary arts, leaving martial affairs to soldiers. He tempted scholars with government positions, thereby turning them into his servants, and limited them to using only intellectual skills, directing their minds toward poetry and prose, and in this way restrained them to a level of harmless mediocrity.
  Because of this, scholars were reduced to exhausted old men, no longer possessing the vigor for great undertakings. Later rulers became increasingly decadent as they passed down this carrot-and-stick method to their descendants, keeping the sword art out of the education of scholars, available only to soldiers. Lucky scholars were boosted into respected positions, whereas unlucky soldiers ended up trying to make a living by performing their uncouth skills on the street.
  After recovering our nation [i.e. the 1911 revolution], visionary gentlemen looked upon our national decline and the way our lands had been invaded, and they realized that any plans to strengthen the people would not work without an emphasis on martial arts. They therefore made a strong public appeal for the promotion of our traditional sword arts in order to build up the bodies of our people, making the skills of soldiers and street performers useful once more. Our martial arts have now been dubbed “national arts” and are at last being given equal status with our nation’s literature. These literate gentlemen who also practice martial arts have laid the groundwork for our people to be both intelligent and bold, reversing the degeneracy of frail physiques. Herein lies the method for strengthening the masses to protect the nation.
  My colleague Xu Yiqian of Nantong is an ardent bookworm, a capable writer, and an expert at the sword art. This means that he would not be considered a true scholar in more recent generations and instead is like the scholars of ancient times. He has recently completed his book about the Sancai Sword and has urged me to write a preface for it. Alas, I know nothing about the sword art, I only know that it was a skill expected of our scholars in ancient times and then discarded by cunning rulers. After a long time, it had slipped away into such obscurity that it was effectively forgotten by Confucianists and Daoists alike. However, Xu Yiqian has been able to learn it, become skillful at it, and write a book about it so that others can learn it too.
  - written in Nanjing by Liao Jiaju, called Xunfu, of Qingtian County, Sep 21, 1936

自序 南通胥以謙吉六
PREFACE BY XU YIQIAN, CALLED JILIU, OF NANTONG

三才劍為中央國術館必修科之一,全套分上下兩段,動作四十有九,姿勢自然,切於實用,初學者可單練,深造者可對練,多人亦可團體練,上段動作,所以應付下段,下段動作,又可應付上段,一動一靜,皆有至理,絕無牽強之處,其為用也,善因敵而為攻,不因攻而疏防,如第十八勢坐盤截腕,本為避對方之蹤步劈頂,而反因以截對方之腕,第三十勢提腿挂耳,本為解對方之提足剪腕,而反因以挂對方之耳,又如纏腕正絞之法,劍刃方絞彼腕,而己腕之動,乃適以讓對方之刃,仰胸刺喉之勢,劍鋒正刺彼喉,而己胸之仰,又適以讓對方之鋒,誠可謂劍無虛發,發必加諸敵身,身不亂動,動必讓敵之劍,合科學原理之短兵也。謙在本館學生班時,即已學而知之,因其可以對舞而好之,及調編審處,更思有以編述之,故於公餘之暇,日與各專家研究探討,單練之姿勢正確矣,而對練動作未合,不足以知其用,對練之動作合矣,而動靜虛實之理未明,不足以抉其微,明其動靜,知其虛實矣,而舊有之成法,聞有未盡,仍不敢妄有所述,乃更與本館黃教授柏年,窮其源,究其本,黃謂余云,『三才者,天地人,即上中下之謂也,除一二兩預備勢外,如第三勢左弓前刺,其劍在中為人才,第四勢拗步後刺,其劍在上為天才,第五勢前進正劈,其劍在下為地才,其後各段動作,類皆適合上中下三字,故曰三才。原有動作十六,後經本館修正增補,合成四十九勢,是為本館所授之三才劍。其法有八,太陰、太陽、中陰、中陽者,四正也。少陰、少陽、老陰、老陽者,四隅也。九為老陽,六為老陰,七為少陽,八為少陰,見(易學啟蒙)。右手持劍,手心朝下者為太陰,朝上者為太陽,朝左者為中陰,朝右者為中陽。由太陰而轉向左下者,謂之少陰,轉向右下者,謂之老陰。由太陽而轉向左上者,謂之少陽,轉向右上者,謂之老陽。此劍之方位,不可不知也。』謙乃因其法而名之曰立刄,曰平刄,曰陂刄。上下其刄者立刄也,左右其刄者平刄也,稍帶斜角者陂刄也。以手心向背,分劍之正反內外。用在刄,則目視刄,用在鋒,則目視鋒,俾學者易於領悟,而無深秘難窺之苦。左手為訣,訣法詳第三勢附註,後皆簡稱曰訣。其編法,分術名,口令,動作,插圖,用法,練法,附註,七項。更於動作項內,註明方向,方向以身之正面為主,前四項便於初學,可望而知所先後,後三項含有研究性質。用法與動作兩項合之即可對練,并記明對方所用者為第幾勢,以備查考。練法係說明一動之中,何處畧先,何處稍後,何處與何處一氣,皆以補動作項內之不逮,附註則解釋各項文字與名詞疑義,並叙述其出典,以備教授者舉以講解。計謙為此,約分四期。第一期在練習班,為單練時期,由各教員教授指導之。第二期在講習班,為對練時期,與黃同志國楨對舞時為多。第三期在編審處,為研究時期,嘗與教務處楊松山黃柏年郭錫山馬正武李錫恩康紹遠何福生等研究。第四期在二十四年冬,為編輯時期,十一月二十日開始,時館長張公之江出國考察歐美體育,代理館長鈕公永建方主高考,謙乃專心致志,手演筆述,動作之易者,日可叙述三五勢,其難者,往往苦思三日,不能述一字,非敢緩也,稍有不能自信,或自信而叙法不能簡,簡而不能明,皆無以著筆也。又以職務鞅掌斷續不時,至二十五年二月杪,始克脫稿。三月四日,連同先著之八極拳稿本,攜至考試院面呈鈕副館長鑒核,蒙賜題語曰:「民族精髓」。自以匆促編就,其中或有遺漏,尚希海內明達,糾正彌補,俾臻完善,則幸甚矣。
民國二十五年月胥以謙序於中央國術館
The Sancai [“Three Realms”] Sword is one of the required courses at the Central Martial Arts Institute. It is divided into two parts and contains forty-nine movements. The postures are natural and practical. Beginners can practice it as a solo set, but more advanced students can practice it as a two-person set, and it can also be used for group practice. The techniques in the first part are responses to those of the second part, and the techniques in the second part are likewise responses to those of the first part. Every movement follows this principle, thereby preventing absurd interpretations of the movements. The purpose of this training is to learn to attack based on what the opponent is doing, not just to make foolhardy random attacks.
  For example, in Posture 18 (SITTING TWISTED, CHECKING CUT TO THE WRIST), you evade the opponent’s use of LEAPING STEP, CHOP TO THE HEAD (posture 39) and counter by doing a checking cut to his wrist. In Posture 30 (LIFTED LEG, HANGING CUT TO THE EAR), you evade the opponent’s use of LIFTED LEG, SHEARING CUT TO THE WRIST (Posture 8) and counter with a hanging cut to his ear. In WRAPPING THE WRIST, TWINING CUT (Posture 16), your sword edge does a twining cut to the opponent’s right wrist while you move your own wrist out of the way to avoid his edge. In LEANING BACK, STAB TO THE THROAT (Postures 15 & 37), your sword tip stabs straight to the opponent’s throat while you lean your own chest away to avoid his tip.
  With such habits ingrained, your sword will never miss its target while your body moves without confusion and evades the opponent’s sword, conforming to the principles of short weapons. When I learned this set at the Institute, the experience of learning it first as a solo set made me able to appreciate the partner practice. The more notes I took, the more I thought of making a book about it, and thereafter I spent all of my spare time discussing the set with experts.
  If you have learned to perform the postures correctly as a solo practice, but have not yet practiced it as a partner exercise, you will not understand the applications. If you have practiced it as a partner exercise, but have not yet grasped the principles of movement and stillness, emptiness and fullness, then you have not captured its subtleties. To fully understand movement and stillness, emptiness and fullness, requires delving into established methods from earlier generations. My own study of such methods remains incomplete and so I will not presume to be an expert. Instead I will share some insights from Huang Bonian, a famous teacher at the Institute, who has made a thorough study of its principals.
  Huang explained to me: “The ‘three realms’ [san cai] are: sky, ground, mankind. They simply represent the levels of upper, middle, and lower. After the first couple of postures, the three realms are noticeable: in Posture 3 (LEFT BOW STANCE, FORWARD STAB), the sword is in the middle level – the realm of mankind; then in Posture 4 (TWISTED STANCE, STAB TO THE REAR), the sword goes upward – the realm of the sky; and then in Posture 5 (ADVANCE, STRAIGHT CHOP), the sword goes downward – the realm of the ground. All successive postures involve these three levels of upper, middle, lower, hence ‘three realms’. There was originally only sixteen movements in this set, but it was later adjusted and expanded at the Central Martial Arts Institute until it comprised a total of forty-nine postures, and this is the version that is now taught at the Institute.
  “There are eight positions for the way the right hand holds the sword: full passive, full active, half passive, half active – representing four straight directions [up, down, left, right] – and one-quarter passive, one-quarter active, three-quarter passive, three-quarter active – representing four diagonal directions [upper left, upper right, lower left, lower right]. (This is somewhat reminiscent of a passage from Zhu Xi’s An Introduction to Studying the Book of Changes: “Nine makes ‘old yang’. Six makes ‘old yin’. Seven makes ‘young yang’. Eight makes ‘young yin’.”)
  “When the center of the hand is facing downward, this is called ‘full passive’. When the center of the hand is facing upward, this is called ‘full active’. When the center of the hand is facing to the left, this is called ‘half passive’. When the center of the hand is facing to the right, this is called ‘half active’. From the full passive position, when the hand is rotated clockwise so that the center of the hand is facing downward to the left, this is called ‘one-quarter passive’, and when the hand is rotated counterclockwise so that the center of the hand is facing downward to the right, this is called ‘three-quarter passive’. From the full active position, when the hand is rotated counterclockwise so that the center of the hand is facing upward to the left, this is called ‘one-quarter active’, and when the hand is rotated clockwise so that the center of the hand is facing upward to the right, this is called ‘three-quarter active’. These positions need to be understood.”
  Building upon his explanations, I use simpler terms in order for students who have not gone through the hard work of a deeper study will be able to more easily understand. For instance, the hand positions are just “the blade vertical”, “the blade horizontal”, or “the blade slanted”. When the edges are facing upward and downward, the blade is vertical. When the edges are facing to the left and right, the blade is horizontal. When the edges of the sword are placed slightly diagonal, the blade is slanted. When the center of the hand is facing toward the rear, the sword is in a position that is either “straight” or “reversed”, turned inward or outward. When using an edge, the gaze goes toward that edge. When using the tip, the gaze goes toward the tip. The left hand forms a “swordsman’s hex”, which is explained in Posture 3, and will hereafter be abbreviated as “hex”.
  The instructions for the postures in this book are divided into seven parts: the technique name, the vocal command, the movement, the image, the application, the practice method, and notes on terminology. Within the movement descriptions, the orientations of the body are made clear, being based on the direction your torso is facing. The first four parts of each posture explanation are for beginners to be able to more easily understand, to know the proper sequence of actions from a basic readthrough of the text. The last three parts have to do with further study.
  When added to the movement description, the application explanation is reference material that reveals the partner training, illuminating the correct cause-and-effect sequence of responding to the opponent’s actions. Within the explanation for the practice method are indications for which actions precede, follow, or are performed at the same time, pointers which help to further clarify the movement description. Within the notes about terminology at the end of each posture, ambiguous terms are defined and made clear, and source texts are cited. This will enable instructors to use these terms properly when giving explanations to students.
  My own experience of this training went through roughly four phases. The first phase was simply practice, specifically solo practice, in which I received guidance from various instructors. The second phase was more explanatory, revolving around partner practice, during which I most frequently practiced with fellow classmate Huang Guozhen [who is presumably the opponent in the photos]. The third phase was a time of more advanced study, in which I did research with instructors Yang Songshan, Huang Bonian, Guo Xishan, Ma Zhengwu, Li Xi’en, Kang Shaoyuan, and He Fusheng. The fourth phase commenced in the winter of 1935, when I set about compiling my notes on this material. Beginning on Nov 20, when the director of the Institute, Zhang Zhijiang, embarked on a fact-finding trip to examine physical education in Europe and America, the deputy director, Niu Yongjian, became the highest authority to inspect this work.
  I had now become determined to write a book about this set. For the easy movements, I could manage to write three in a day, but when it came to the difficult movements, I could hardly write anything in three days. However, I dared not slacken, because if I became overwhelmed by a lack of self-confidence about working through difficulty or confusion, then I would have been left with nothing written at all. Furthermore, due to the burdens of attending to other duties, this work was constantly being interrupted, and it was not until the end of Feb, 1936, that I was able to complete the manuscript.
  On March 4, I took it to the examination department, along with a Baji Boxing manuscript that I had previously written, and presented it to deputy director Niu, who then approved it as an example of the “marrow of the nation”. Because this book was put together in rather a hurry, there are bound to be errors. I fervently hope that experts throughout the nation will offer corrections so that I can make improvements to it.
  - written by Xu Yiqian at the Central Martial Arts Institute, 1936

三才劍圖解四十九勢術名 胥以謙編
LIST OF POSTURE NAMES

第一段
Part One

第一勢 持劍預備
Posture 1: HOLDING THE SWORD, STANDING IN READINESS
第二勢 馬襠抱劍
Posture 2: HORSE STANCE, EMBRACING THE SWORD
第三勢 左弓前刺
Posture 3: LEFT BOW STANCE, FORWARD STAB
第四勢 拗步後刺
Posture 4: TWISTED STANCE, STAB TO THE REAR
第五勢 前進正劈
Posture 5: ADVANCE, STRAIGHT CHOP
第六勢 挺身掤劍
Posture 6: STRAIGHTEN THE BODY, FLICKING CUT
第七勢 提足剪腕
Posture 7: LIFTED LEG, SHEARING CUT TO THE WRIST
第八勢 落步截腕
Posture 8: STEP DOWN, CHECKING CUT TO THE WRIST
第九勢 提足攔臂
Posture 9: LIFTED LEG, BLOCKING CUT TO THE ARM
第十勢 落步刺肋
Posture 10: STEP DOWN, STAB TO THE RIBS
第十一勢 上步剪腕
Posture 11: STEP FORWARD, SHEARING CUT TO THE WRIST
第十二勢 坐盤截腕
Posture 12: SITTING TWISTED, CHECKING CUT TO THE WRIST
第十三勢 上步格劍
Posture 13: STEP FORWARD, BRACING SWORDS
第十四勢 撤劍坐盤
Posture 14: WITHDRAWING THE SWORD, SITTING TWISTED
第十五勢 仰胸刺喉
Posture 15: LEANING BACK, STAB TO THE THROAT
第十六勢 纏腕正絞
Posture 16: WRAPPING THE WRIST, TWINING CUT
第十七勢 閃身帶劍
Posture 17: DODGING BODY, PULLING BACK THE SWORD
第十八勢 坐盤截腕
Posture 18: SITTING TWISTED, CHECKING CUT TO THE WRIST
第十九勢 提腿斬臂
Posture 19: LIFTED LEG, SLASHING TO THE ARM
第二十勢 落步撩腕
Posture 20: STEP DOWN, RAISING CUT TO THE WRIST
第二十一勢 攔臂掃腹
Posture 21: BLOCKING CUT TO THE ARM, SWEEPING CUT TO THE BELLY
第二十二勢 退步翻撩
Posture 22: RETREAT, OVERTURNED RAISING CUT
第二十三勢 上步刺肋
Posture 23: STEP FORWARD, STAB TO THE RIBS
第二十四勢 退步翻撩
Posture 24: RETREAT, OVERTURNED RAISING CUT
第二十五勢 上步刺肋
Posture 25: STEP FORWARD, STAB TO THE RIBS
第二十六勢 退步翻撩
Posture 26: RETREAT, OVERTURNED RAISING CUT
第二十七勢 進步劈頂
Posture 27: ADVANCE, CHOP TO THE HEAD
第二十八勢 退步掤劍
Posture 28: RETREAT, FLICKING CUT

第二段
Part Two

第二十九勢 墊步刺胸
Posture 29: SKIPPING STEP, STAB TO THE CHEST
第三十勢 提腿掛耳
Posture 30: LIFTED LEG, HANGING CUT TO THE EAR
第三十一勢 落步斬腿
Posture 31: STEP DOWN, SLASHING TO THE LEG
第三十二勢 原地抱劍
Posture 32: STAYING WHERE YOU ARE, EMBRACE THE SWORD
第三十三勢 退步刺腹
Posture 33: RETREAT, STAB TO THE BELLY
第三十四勢 抽劍戳面
Posture 34: WITHDRAW THE SWORD, JAB TO THE FACE
第三十五勢 上步格劍
Posture 35: STEP FORWARD, BRACING SWORDS
第三十六勢 撤劍坐盤
Posture 36: WITHDRAWING THE SWORD, SITTING TWISTED
第三十七勢 仰胸刺喉
Posture 37: LEANING BACK, STAB TO THE THROAT
第三十八勢 纏腕反絞
Posture 38: WRAPPING THE WRIST, REVERSE TWINING CUT
第三十九勢 蹤步劈頂
Posture 39: LEAPING STEP, CHOP TO THE HEAD
第四十勢 側身掃腿
Posture 40: SIDEWAYS BODY, SWEEPING CUT TO THE LEG
第四十一勢 抽劍刺喉
Posture 41: WITHDRAW THE SWORD, STAB TO THE THROAT
第四十二勢 閃腕掃腿
Posture 42: DODGING WRIST, SWEEPING CUT TO THE LEG
第四十三勢 上步刺肋
Posture 43: STEP FORWARD, STAB TO THE RIBS
第四十四勢 退步翻撩
Posture 44: RETREAT, OVERTURNED RAISING CUT
第四十五勢 上步刺肋
Posture 45: STEP FORWARD, STAB TO THE RIBS
第四十六勢 退步翻撩
Posture 46: RETREAT, OVERTURNED RAISING CUT
第四十七勢 上步刺肋
Posture 47: STEP FORWARD, STAB TO THE RIBS
第四十八勢 閃身格腕
Posture 48: DODGING BODY, BRACING CUT TO THE WRIST
第四十九勢 還劍歸原
Posture 49: HANDING OVER THE SWORD, RETURN TO THE ORIGINAL POSITION

三才劍圖解
ILLUSTRATED SANCAI SWORD
南通胥以謙編著
by Xu Yiqian of Nantong

第一勢 持劍預備
Posture 1: HOLDING THE SWORD, STANDING IN READINESS

口令(三才劍預備)
Command: “Ready!”
就立正姿勢(方向假定朝南)左手持劍下垂,劍脊緊貼左臂背面,鋒向上,目前視,如第一圖。
Stand at attention, your left hand holding your sword, the arm hanging down, the spine of the sword touching the back of your left arm, the sword tip pointing upward. Your gaze is forward. See photo 1 [Xu Yiqian standing on the left]:

用法
Function:
此為預備勢,對方相距約五步,亦作同樣姿勢。
This is simply a preparation posture. You and the opponent are in the same position, standing about five paces apart.
練法
Practice method:
立正,持劍,齊動。
Stand straight, holding your sword – self and sword getting into position in unison.
附註
Terminology:
「三才」天地人為三才,見〔易繫辭傳〕。簡言之,即上中下。在人體方面,頭頸為上,胸腹為中,腿足為下。
“Three realms” [san cai] – sky, ground, and mankind, according to the commentary section to the Book of Changes. In simpler terms, they are the upper, middle, and lower sections. These sections of the body are: upper – head and neck; middle – chest and belly area; lower – legs and feet.
「持」執也。〔禮〕持弓矢審固。
“Hold” – to grasp. It says in the Book of Rites [chapter 46 – “The Meaning of Archery”]: “He holds the bow and arrow with both delicacy and firmness.”
「劍」古兵器名,兩刄而有脊,自脊至刄謂之臘刄,又謂之鍔,刄以下與柄分隔者,謂之首,首以下把握之處曰莖,莖端施環曰鐔。見〔考工記〕。
“Sword” – [quoting from Essentials of the Wudang Sword Art, 1931:] “The standards for making swords are recorded in the ‘Record of Artisans’ in the Rites of Zhou. Swords have two ‘edges’ and a ‘spine’. From the spine to the edge is called the ‘sacrificer’, or the ‘blade’. The divider between blade and handle is called the ‘hilt’. The handle itself is called the ‘stalk’. At the end of the stalk is a ring called the ‘pommel’.”

第二勢 馬襠抱劍
Posture 2: HORSE STANCE, EMBRACING THE SWORD

口令(一)
Command: “One!”
身向右轉,左足向左一步,曲膝,成騎馬襠。左手持劍,由左提至胸前,手心向外,虎口向右,曲肘平肩,劍脊緊貼左臂,立刃,鋒指左。同時,右手至胸,握住劍柄,手心向內,虎口向左上,曲肘平肩,頭左向,目左視,如第二圖。
Your body turns to the right, your left foot stepping out to the left, your knees bending to make a horse-riding stance, as your left hand lifts your sword in front of your chest, the center of the hand facing outward, the tiger’s mouth facing to the right, the elbow bent at shoulder level, the spine of the sword against your left forearm, the blade vertical, the tip pointing to the left, and your right hand goes in front of your chest and grasps the sword handle, the center of the hand facing inward, the tiger’s mouth facing upward to the left, the elbow bent at shoulder level. Your head is turned to the left, your gaze to the left. See photo 2:

用法
Function:
身向右轉,便於換把,左手心向外,便於鬆劍,右手心向內,便於接劍,鋒向左,因敵人在左。對方亦作同樣姿勢。
Your body turns to the right to facilitate switching your sword from your left hand to your right hand, the center of your left hand facing outward to let go of the sword, the center of your right hand facing inward to receive the sword, the tip pointing to the left. The opponent, now to your left, performs the same action.
練法
Practice method:
左足動步,身向右轉,與頭左向,目左視,齊動。左足落步,兩膝下彎,與兩手動作,齊動。
Your left foot starts to step, your body turns to the right, and your head turns to the left so that your gaze is to the left – all moving at the same time. Your left foot comes down, your knees bend, and your hands get into their position – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「馬襠」兩足左右離開,足尖裏扣,兩膝下彎平胯者,曰馬襠,即騎馬襠也。
“Horse stance” – your feet spread apart to the left and right, toes hooking inward, your knees bending until your thighs are flat; also called “horse-riding stance”.
「抱」持也,挾也,用臂以挾持之曰抱。〔書〕保抱攜持厥婦子。用於此處,乃兩手垂拱若抱之意。
“Embrace” – to grasp, to hold, to seize with the arms. It says in the Book of Documents [document 40]: “They protectively embraced their wives and led them away.” In this posture, your hands come together as though embracing someone.
「提」挈也,凡挈之前進,挈之向上,皆曰提。
“Lift” – to carry forward or upward.
「立刄」凡劍上下其刄者,曰立刄。
“The blade vertical” – the sword edges are facing upward and downward.
「握」搤持也,在外為持,在內為握。〔詩〕握粟出卜。
“Grasp” – to seize and hold. When the hand is turned outward, it is called “holding”; when turned inward, it is called “grasping”. It says in the Book of Poems [poem 196]: “I grasp what little grain I have and think about my future.”

第三勢 左弓前刺
Posture 3: LEFT BOW STANCE, FORWARD STAB

口令(二)
Command: “Two!”
身向左轉,右足原地挺膝,左足曲膝,成左弓右箭襠。同時,右手接劍,直向前刺出,立刄,鋒前指,臂平直,手心向左,虎口向前,左手鬆把,掐訣由左後伸,手心斜向左後,目前視,如第三圖。
Your torso turns to the left, your right foot staying where it is, the knee straightening, your left knee bending, making a stance of left leg a bow, right leg an arrow, as your right hand fully takes hold of your sword and sends it stabbing out straight ahead, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing forward, your left hand having released its grip and is now pinched into a swordsman’s hex and extending to the left rear, the center of the hand facing diagonally to the left rear. Your gaze is forward. See photo 3:

用法
Function:
敵在我左,我轉身以右手接劍,直向前刺出,適在中部,即取人才之意,對方亦作同樣動作。因對練時,尚未交手,故不叙其用處。
The opponent is to your left, so you turn your torso and send your sword stabbing out forward toward his middle area, representing the realm of mankind. Since the opponent simply performs the same movement, the fight within the partner practice has not yet engaged, and therefore there is no meaningful application to explain here.
練法
Practice method:
左手鬆把,右手接劍,先動。轉身,訣向後伸,劍向前刺,右足後撐,左膝前曲,齊動。
First your left hand lets go and your right hand takes hold of your sword. Then your torso turns to the left, your hex extends to the rear, your sword stabs forward, your right leg straightens behind, and your left knee bends in front – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「刺」直傷曰刺,刄之也。〔孟子〕刺人而殺之。
“Stab” – to wound by attacking straight forward. It says in Mengzi [chapter 1a]: “How is letting a man starve different from stabbing a man to death?”
「弓箭襠」一足在前,膝曲若弓,一足在後,撐直似箭,故曰,前弓後箭襠。
“Bow & arrow stance” – the front knee bends like a bow and the rear leg braces straight like an arrow.
「鬆」虛而不實曰鬆,
“Release” – to empty instead of fill.
「鬆把」即將持劍之手鬆開,交於右手也。
“Release its grip” – your left hand lets go and passes your sword into your right hand.
「掐訣」以食中兩指伸直,而跪其餘三指者,謂之劍訣。又武當派之劍訣,僅跪小指與無名指,而食中拇三指伸直,乃取虎口成圓形之意。
“Pinches into a hex” – with the forefinger and middle finger staying straight, the rest of the fingers bend inward. The Wudang version of the swordsman’s hex bends in only the little finger and ring finger, letting the thumb stick out and emphasizing the tiger’s mouth being rounded. [Throughout the photos, Xu Yiqian uses this type of hex, whereas the opponent uses the more common fully pinched hex.]

第四勢 拗步後刺
Posture 4: TWISTED STANCE, STAB TO THE REAR

口令(三)
Command: “Three!”
左足原地曲膝,右足上步夾膝,成右剪襠。訣撫右腕,右臂縮回,肘尖向下,手心向前,虎口向後,劍向後掛,立刄,鋒後指,頭右向,劍脊與鼻端相對。身再右轉,兩足原地扭成拗步。同時,訣向左平伸,手心向左,指尖向上。劍向右刺出,平刄,鋒與喉部相對,手心向上,虎口向右,目視劍鋒,如第四圖。
With your left foot staying where it is, the knee bends, and your right foot steps forward, your knees pinching, making a right scissors stance, your hex patting your right wrist, as your right arm pulls back and your sword does a hanging cut to the rear, the elbow pointing downward, the center of the hand facing forward, the tiger’s mouth facing to the rear, the blade vertical, the tip pointing behind at nose level, your head turned to the right. Then your torso turns to the right, your feet pivoting where they are to make a twisted stance, your hex extending to the left, the center of the hand facing to the left, the fingers pointing upward, as your sword stabs out to the right, the blade horizontal, the tip at throat level, the center of your right hand facing upward, the tiger’s mouth facing to the right. Your gaze is toward your sword tip. See photo 4:

用法
Function:
敵在我右,我轉身拗步,向右刺出,此在上部,即取天才之意。對方亦作同樣動作。此勢與對方仍未交手。
There is an attacker to your right, so your turn your body, twisting your stance, and stab out to the right. In this posture, your sword is above, representing the sky realm. The opponent performs the same movement, the fight within the partner practice still having not yet begun.
練法
Practice method:
右足上步,訣無腕,劍後掛,頭右向,齊動。兩足扭成拗步,身右轉,訣左伸,劍右刺,齊動。
Your right foot steps forward, your hex pats your right wrist, your sword does a hanging cut to the rear, and your head turns to the right – all moving at the same time. Your feet pivot to make a twisted stance, your torso turns to the right, your hex extends to the left, and your sword stabs out to the right – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「拗」拗戾,固相違也,不順曰拗。用於此處,乃指右手在前,而右足反在後,左足在前,而左手反在後,勢若不順,故曰拗步。
“Twisted” – twisted as opposed to straight. The opposite hand and opposite foot are forward instead of the same hand and same foot being forward.
「夾膝」兩膝相靠曰夾膝。
“Knees pinching” – your knees are pinching toward each other.
「剪襠」兩足相距一小步,前虛後屈,身畧後坐,而兩膝相夾者,曰剪襠。
“Scissors stance” – your feet are only a small step apart, front leg empty, rear leg bent, your body slightly sitting back, your knees pinching toward each other.
「撫」按也。〔禮〕君撫僕之手。
“Pat” – to push down. It says in the Book of Rites [chapter 1]: “He pats the hand of the driver, signaling him to slow the carriage to a halt.”
「掛」本館教授黃柏年先生云,凡劍從身之側面,或挑,或格,在內者為鈎,在外者為掛。鈎有上下,掛亦有上下,此勢之劍,係在右臂外面,故曰掛,在肩之上面,故曰上掛。
“Hanging cut” – Institute instructor Huang Bonian said: “When your sword goes along your body to the side, whether from carrying or bracing, moving inward [to the left side] is called ‘hooking’ and moving outward [to the right side] is called ‘hanging’. Both actions have a low version and a high version. Your sword placed lower than your shoulder is ‘low hanging’ and placed higher than your shoulder is ‘high hanging’.”

第五勢 前進正劈
Posture 5: ADVANCE, STRAIGHT CHOP

口令(四)
Command: “Four!”
身向左轉,左足上步,右足併步,曲膝。訣隨右步撫腕,劍亦隨步由上向前劈下,立刄,鋒低指,臂直,手心向左,虎口向前,目前視,如第五圖。
Your torso turns to the left, your left foot steps forward, and your right foot goes forward to stand next to it, your knees bending, as your sword chops down forward from above, the blade vertical, the tip pointing downward, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing forward, your hex assisting at your right wrist. Your gaze is forward. See photo 5:

用法
Function:
此勢亦非交手之勢,對練時,敵在我右側,亦作同樣動作。然後倒退三步,以備接戰。按本勢之劍在下,係取地才之意,合上兩勢,成為三才。
This is still not yet a fighting posture in the partner practice since the opponent is again merely performing the same movement, after which you will retreat three steps in preparation to commence the fight. In this posture, your sword is below, representing the ground realm, complementing the previous two postures by fulfilling all three realms.
練法
Practice method:
轉身,左足上步,劍舉起,齊動。右足併步,曲膝,訣撫腕,劍劈下,齊動。
Your torso turns to the left, your left foot steps forward, and your sword is lifted up – all moving at the same time. Your right foot steps next to your left foot, your knees bend, your hex goes to your right wrist, and your sword chops down – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「劈」凡立刄由上而下劈者,謂之劈。
“Chop” – to chop down from above with the blade vertical.
「併步」凡在後之足,與在前之足相併,或在前之足,與在後之足相併,皆曰併步。
“Stand next to it” – when your rear foot goes forward to stand next to your front foot or your front foot goes back to stand next to your rear foot.
「舉」以力使之向上也。〔孟子〕吾力足以舉百鈞。
“Lifted up” – to use strength to make something go upward. It says in Mengzi [chapter 1a]: “I am strong enough to lift a ton.”

第六勢 挺身掤劍
Posture 6: STRAIGHTEN THE BODY, FLICKING CUT

口令(一)
Command: “One!”
身猛起立,訣上伸,手心向上,指尖向左,劍掤起,立刄,鋒高指,同時,右臂縮回,手心貼腰,虎口向前,目前視,如第六圖。
Your body suddenly rises up, your hex reaching upward, the center of the hand facing upward, the fingers pointing to the right, as your sword flicks upward, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward and upward, your right arm pulling back so that the center of the hand is close to your waist, the tiger’s mouth facing forward. Your gaze is forward. See photo 6:

用法
Function:
練至此,敵即用第二十八勢,退步掤劍法,倒退三步,以備交手,我即原地待之。
Once the postures have arrived at this point, the opponent performs Posture 28 – RETREAT, FLICKING CUT, retreating three steps in preparation to fight, so you stay where you are, awaiting whatever he will do next.
練法
Practice method:
身起來,劍掤起,訣向上伸,齊動。
Your body rises up, your sword flicks up, and your hex reaches up – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「挺」直也。
“Straighten” – to make upright.
「挺身」〔三國志注〕龐娥親迺挺身奮手,左抵其額,右樁其喉。言挺立身軀,狀其勇毅也。
“Straighten the body” – It says in the annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms [Kingdom of Wei, part 28, bio of Pang Yu]: “Pang E [Pang Yu’s mother] straightened her body and raised up her hands. Her left hand pressed on Li Shou’s head while her right hand grabbed his throat. [Spinning around, she threw him to the ground. Then she pulled out her sword and cut off his head.]” To straighten up the body shows an attitude of boldness and resolution.
「猛」凡勢之急驟者,皆曰猛。
“Suddenly” – the position is formed with great speed.
「掤劍」凡劍鋒由下猛起,而柄下垂者,曰掤劍。
“Flicking” – the sword tip suddenly lifts up from below, the handle dropping down.

第七勢 提足剪腕
Posture 7: LIFTED LEG, SHEARING CUT TO THE WRIST

口令(二)
Command: “Two!”
右足向右上半步,左足提起,身畧左轉,含胸,訣撫腕,劍向前剪出,陂刄,鋒指左下,臂直,手心向下,虎口向左,目視右刄,如第七圖之甲勢。
Your right foot goes forward a half step to the right and your left foot lifts up, your torso slightly turning to the left, your chest hollowing, your hex going to your right wrist, as your sword goes forward with a shearing cut, the blade slanted, the tip pointing downward to the left, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing downward, the tiger’s mouth facing to the left. Your gaze is toward the right edge of your sword. See photo 7:

用法
Function:
敵用第二十九勢,墊步刺胸法,直刺我胸。我急側身偏其鋒,提足剪其腕。
The opponent performs Posture 29 (SKIPPING STEP, STAB TO THE CHEST) to stab straight to your chest, so you quickly get your body out of the way of his sword tip while lifting your left foot and doing a shearing cut to his wrist.
練法
Practice method:
訣撫腕,劍剪出,提足,含胸,皆為同時動作。
Your hex goes to your right wrist, your sword goes out with a shearing cut, your left foot lifts up, and your chest hollows – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「提」挈之向上曰提。
“Lift” – to draw upward.
「剪腕」凡以劍之右刄割敵腕,手心向下者,為剪腕,手心向上者,為截腕。
“Shearing cut to the wrist” – to send your sword to the right to cut the opponent’s wrist. With the center of the hand facing downward, it is a shearing cut. With the center of the hand facing upward, it would be a checking cut.
「含」有餘未盡曰含。
“Hollow” – to create extra space.
「含胸」胸部內凹曰含胸。
“Hollow your chest” – to make your chest area concave.
「陂」傾也。〔易〕无平不陂。
“Slanted” – tilted. It says in the Book of Changes [hexagram 11]: “There is no level ground that does not become slanted ground.”
「陂刄」凡刄不橫不豎,而稍帶傾勢者,曰陂刄。
“The blade slanted” – when the blade is neither horizontal nor vertical, but tilted to one side.

第八勢 落步截腕
Posture 8: STEP DOWN, CHECKING CUT TO THE WRIST

口令(三)
Command: “Three!”
身向右轉,左足向左前落步,曲膝,成左弓右箭襠。訣仍撫腕,身畧左偏。同時,劍向右前截出,陂刄,鋒指前上,與高畧過頂,手心向左上,虎口向右上,目視右刄,如第八圖之甲勢。
Your torso turns to the right, your left foot coming down to the forward left, the knee bending, making a stance of left leg a bow, right leg an arrow, your hex staying at your right wrist, your torso slightly leaning to the left, as your sword goes out to the forward right with a checking cut, the blade slanted, the tip pointing forward and upward slightly higher than your headtop, the center of the hand facing upward to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing upward to the right. Your gaze is toward the right edge of your sword. See photo 8:

用法
Function:
敵用第三十勢,提腿掛耳法,讓開我上勢之剪腕,反掛我右耳。我急落步,截其右臂外腕。身畧左偏,乃避其刄。
The opponent performs Posture 30 (LIFTED LEG, HANGING CUT TO THE EAR), avoiding your shearing cut to his wrist and countering with a hanging cut to your right ear, so you quickly bring your left foot down and do a checking cut to the outside of his right wrist, your torso slightly leaning away to the left to avoid his sword.
練法
Practice method:
落步,轉身,截腕,齊動。
Step down, turn your torso to the right, and do a checking cut to the wrist – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「落步」凡提起之足,落地踏實,或點步虛步之足,落地踏實者,皆為落步。
“Step down” – a lifted foot steps down fully, or in the case of a foot touching down with only the toes, the foot lowers fully to the ground.
「截腕」凡以右刄襲擊敵腕,手心向上者為截腕,或以上刄襲擊敵腕,而手心向右者皆為截腕。
“Checking cut to the wrist” – to attack the opponent’s wrist using the right-facing edge of your sword when the center of your right hand is facing upward, or to use the edge that is facing upward if the center of your right hand is facing to the right.

第九勢 提足攔臂
Posture 9: LIFTED LEG, BLOCKING CUT TO THE ARM

口令(四)
Command: “Four!”
身畧左轉,提右足,訣仍撫腕,劍轉橫,右膝前向下橫攔出,陂刄,手心向下,虎口向左,臂直,鋒指左下,身前探,目視外刄,如第九圖之甲勢。
Your body slightly turns to the right, your right foot lifting, your hex staying at your right wrist, as your sword arcs across to block downward in front of your right knee, the blade slanted, the center of the hand facing downward, the tiger’s mouth facing to the left, the arm straightening, the tip pointing downward to the left, your torso reaching forward. Your gaze is toward the outer edge of your sword. See photo 9:

用法
Function:
敵用第三十一勢,落步斬腿法,上解截腕,下斬我腿。我急提足讓其劍,落劍攔其臂。
The opponent performs Posture 31 (STEP DOWN, SLASHING TO THE LEG) first escaping your checking cut to his wrist and then slashing downward toward your leg, so you quickly lift your right leg to evade his sword and lower your sword to block his arm.
練法
Practice method:
提足,攔臂,齊動。
Your leg lifts and your sword does a blocking cut to his arm – both moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「攔」攩也,遮攔也。
“Blocking” – to obstruct or impede.
「攔臂」凡以劍攩住敵臂,不使前者,曰攔臂。
“Blocking cut to the arm” – to use your sword to obstruct the opponent’s arm, preventing him from coming forward.

第十勢 落步刺肋
Posture 10: STEP DOWN, STAB TO THE RIBS

口令(一)
Command: “One!”
右足向前落步,足尖向外,左足跟稍起曲膝,訣仍撫腕,劍由腹部隨步向前刺出,平刄鋒前指,臂直,手心向下,虎口向左,目視劍鋒,如第十圖甲勢。
Your right foot comes down forward with the toes turned outward, your left knee slightly bending, your hex staying at your wrist, as your sword stabs out from your belly, the blade horizontal, the tip pointing forward, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing downward, the tiger’s mouth facing to the left. Your gaze is toward your sword tip. See photo 10:

用法
Function:
敵用第三十二勢,原地抱劍法,讓開我上勢之攔臂,我急落步刺其肋。
The opponent performs Posture 32 – STAYING WHERE YOU ARE, EMBRACE THE SWORD, evading your blocking cut to his arm, so you quickly bring your foot down and send a stab to his ribs.
練法
Practice method:
劍先轉回,然後落步,刺劍,齊動。
Your sword first pulls back. Then your foot comes down and your sword stabs forward – both moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「刺肋」凡以劍直刺敵肋者,為刺肋。
“Stab to the ribs” – to send your sword stabbing straight to the opponent’s ribs.
「平刄」凡劍左右其刄者為平刄,上下其刄者為立刄,稍帶斜角者為陂刄。
“The blade horizontal” – when the edges of the sword are facing to the left and right, the blade is “horizontal”; when the edges of the sword are facing upward and downward, the blade is “vertical”; when the edges of the sword are placed slightly diagonal, the blade is “slanted”.

第十一勢 上步剪腕
Posture 11: STEP FORWARD, SHEARING CUT TO THE WRIST

口令(二)
Command: “Two!”
右足原地曲膝,左足上步,足尖向外,兩臂稍縮仍出,訣畧分仍合,同時,劍隨步撥向面前剪出,陂刄,臂微含,手心向下,虎口向左上,鋒畧偏左前,高與胸平,目視右刄,如第十一圖之甲勢。
Your right foot stays where it is, the knee bending, and your left foot steps forward, the toes turning inward, as your arms slightly withdraw and then go out again, your hex slightly coming away and then returning to your right wrist, your sword deflecting to the left and then going forward with a shearing cut, the blade slanted, your right arm slightly bent, the center of the hand facing downward, the tiger’s mouth facing downward to the left, the sword tip pointing forward and slightly to the left at chest level. Your gaze is toward the right edge of your sword. See photo 11:

用法
Function:
敵用第三十三勢,退步刺胸法,退步讓我劍,出劍刺我胸。我急上步,以劍翻至敵臂上面,剪其腕。
The opponent performs Posture 33 (RETREAT, STAB TO THE BELLY), retreating to avoid your sword, then stabbing out toward your chest, so you quickly step forward, and send your sword upward with a shearing cut to his wrist, the blade turning over.
練法
Practice method:
左足動步,訣分,臂縮,劍撥,齊動。左足落步,訣撫腕,與劍出,齊動。練時右手心畧向上轉,隨即向下,因欲將劍翻至敵臂上面,以便剪其腕耳。
Your left foot starts to step, your hex comes away, your arms withdraw, and your sword deflects to the left – all moving at the same time. Your left foot comes down, your hex returns to your right wrist, and your sword goes out – all moving at the same time. (When withdrawing, your right hand slightly rotates so that the center of the hand is facing upward, then turns over so that the center of the hand is facing downward in order to do the shearing cut to the opponent’s wrist.)
附註
Terminology:
「上步」前進一步曰上步。
“Step forward” – to advance a full step.
「剪腕」見第七勢註。
“Shearing cut to the wrist” – same as in Posture 7.
「畧」少也,稍也,如謂事物稍優者,曰畧勝一籌。
“Slightly” – a little bit, to a small degree. To say for instance that “something is a little bit better” is the same as saying it is “slightly superior”.
「抽」凡劍在前,而直向回縮者,曰抽。
“Withdraw” – to pull your sword straight back.

第十二勢 坐盤截腕
Posture 12: SITTING TWISTED, CHECKING CUT TO THE WRIST

口令(三)
Command: “Three!”
身向左轉,兩足扭成拗步,曲膝下坐,訣仍撫腕,劍隨身轉向面前上截,立刄,鋒指右上,手心對左頰,虎口向右,頭右向,目視上刄,如第十二圖甲勢。
Your torso turns to the left, your feet pivoting to make a twisted stance, your knees bending, your hex staying at your wrist, as your sword goes across upward in front of you with a checking action, the blade horizontal, the tip pointing upward to the right, the center of the hand facing toward your left cheek, the tiger’s mouth facing to the right. Your head is turned to the right, your gaze toward the upper edge of your sword. See photo 12:

用法
Function:
敵用第三十四勢,抽劍戳面法,將左足提回,抽劍破剪,送劍戳面。我急坐盤讓其鋒,截劍襲其腕。
The opponent performs Posture 34 (WITHDRAW THE SWORD, JAB TO THE FACE), in which he lifts his left foot, withdrawing his sword to foil your attempt at a shearing cut, then sends his sword jabbing forward toward your face, so you quickly get into a sitting-twisted stance to avoid his sword tip while stopping his sword by attacking his wrist.
練法
Practice method:
扭步,轉身,下坐,轉腕,劍向上截,皆為同時動作,下坐時,右足跟提成點步。
Your feet pivot, your torso turns, you sit lower, and your sword goes upward with a checking action, the blade turning over – all moving at the same time. When sitting lower, your right heel lifts to make a position of touching down with just the toes.
附註
Terminology:
「盤」屈曲曰盤。
“Twisted” – curving away.
「坐盤」凡拗步曲膝下坐者,曰坐盤,以兩膝盤曲若盤,而身坐其上,若坐於盤也。
“Sitting twisted” – the stance twists, the knees bend, and the body sits. The turning of your knees is similar to the curve of a basin, and then your body sits onto them, and so it is as though you are sitting into a basin.

第十三勢 上步格劍
Posture 13: STEP FORWARD, BRACING SWORDS

口令(四)
Command: “Four!”
右足向右上步,左足併步,立身挺膝,訣向左伸直,手心向左,指尖向上,同時,劍向右架出,臂直,手心向前上,虎口向右上,陂刄,鋒指右上,劍高過頂,頭右向,目視前刄,如第十三圖甲勢。
Your right foot steps forward to the right and your left foot steps next to your right foot, your body standing, knees straightening, your hex extending to the left, the center of the hand facing to the left, the fingers pointing upward, as your sword braces out to the right, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing upward to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing upward to the right, the blade slanted, the tip pointing upward to the right, going higher than your headtop. Your head is turned to the right, your gaze toward the forward edge of your sword. See photo 13:

用法
Function:
敵用第三十五勢,上步格劍法,轉身閃腕,一面讓我之劍,一面追擊我腕。我亦以上步格劍法,追彼之腕,遂成二劍相交之勢。
The opponent performs Posture 35 (STEP FORWARD, BRACING SWORDS) turning his torso and dodging his wrist away to evade your sword, then chasing your right wrist, so you perform the same technique of stepping forward with a bracing action to chase his wrist, resulting in a position of the swords being crossed.
練法
Practice method:
右足上步,身立起,齊動。左足併步,訣左伸,劍架出,齊動。
Your right foot steps forward and your body stands up – both moving at the same time. Your left foot steps next to your right foot, your hex extends to the left, and your sword braces against his – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「格」抵牾也,〔國語穀洛鬭注〕二木格,〔漢書〕主人遂格鬭死。(注)相抱而殺之曰格。
“Brace” – to go against. In says in the commentary to the Discourses of the States: “The two trees are braced against each other.” It says in the Book of Han [bios, part 33]: “He then braced with him and wrestled him to death.” (A note to this explains “braced” as grabbing hold of and trying to kill each other.)
「挺」直也。
“Straighten” – to make upright.

第十四勢 撤劍坐盤
Posture 14: WITHDRAWING THE SWORD, SITTING TWISTED

口令(一)
Command: “One!”
左足向左後撤半步,右足再向左足左後撤退點步,曲膝下坐,成坐盤式,訣由前隨劍下垂,手心向下,指尖向前。同時,劍隨步撤回下落右側,立刄,鋒前指,臂垂,手心向裏,虎口向前,目前視,如第十四圖甲勢。
Your left foot withdraws a half step to the left rear, then your right foot withdraws behind your left foot, touching down with the toes, the knee bending, making a sitting-twisted stance, your hex [going forward and then] lowering at your left side, the center of the hand facing downward, the fingers pointing forward, as your sword [lowers into a hanging action and then] pulls back, lowering at your right side, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing inward, the tiger’s mouth facing forward. Your gaze is forward. See photo 14. [There is no photo 14, but it would be the same as photo 36, except with the roles reversed.]
用法
Function:
上勢既成二劍相交,兩不相下之勢,遂各以撤劍坐盤法分開,敵方即用第三十六勢也。
In the previous posture, you both ended up in a position of crossed swords, producing a stalemate, so you both retreat into the posture of WITHDRAWING THE SWORD, SITTING TWISTED in order to spread apart, the opponent therefore performing Posture 36.
練法
Practice method:
左足撤步,右手微鬆,訣至前,鋒向後,齊動。右足撤步,劍下壓,訣下垂,齊動。
Your left foot retreats, your right hand slightly loosens, your hex goes forward, and your sword tip points to the rear with a hanging action – all moving at the same time. Your right foot retreats, your sword presses down, and your hex lowers – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「撤劍」凡兩劍相交,而互相撤退分開者,曰撤劍。
“Withdrawing the sword” – from the position of crossing swords, you both withdraw to be spread apart from each other.
「壓」自上抑下曰壓。凡劍身平,由上而下抑者,謂之壓。
“Press down” – to press down from above with the sword body level.

第十五勢 仰胸刺喉
Posture 15: LEANING BACK, STAB TO THE THROAT

口令(二)
Command: “Two!”
左足原地挺膝,右足向右上步,曲膝。訣起護額,手心向上,指尖向右,身畧後仰。同時,劍向左前刺出,平刄,鋒與喉部相對,手心向下,虎口向前,目視劍鋒,如第十五圖甲勢。
With your left foot staying where it is, your right foot steps forward to the right, the knee bending, your left leg straightening, your hex rising to guard your head, the center of the hand facing upward, the fingers pointing to the right, your upper body slightly leaning back, as your sword stabs out forward to the left, the blade horizontal, the tip pointing toward the opponent’s throat, the center of the hand facing downward, the tiger’s mouth facing forward. Your gaze is toward your sword tip. See photo 15:

用法
Function:
敵用第三十七勢,上步刺喉法刺我。我亦以上步刺喉法刺彼,身後仰,乃讓其劍鋒。
The opponent performs Posture 37 – LEANING BACK, STAB TO THE THROAT, so you do likewise, your upper body leaning back to avoid his sword tip.
練法
Practice method:
身起,訣起,右足動,齊動。身仰,訣護額,劍刺出,右足落步,齊動。
Your body rises, your sword rises, your hex rises, and your right foot starts to step – all moving at the same time. Your upper body leans back, your hex guards your head, your sword stabs out, and your right foot comes down – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「護額」凡以訣上伸於額角之上者,曰護額。
“Guarding your head” – your hex extends upward from your left temple.
「仰」舉首向上也。〔易〕仰以觀于天文。〔孟子〕仰不愧於天。
“Leaning back” – your head lifting to be facing upward. It says in the commentary section to the Book of Changes: “Look up and examine the stars.” It says in Mengzi [chapter 4a]: “He can look up and face the heavens with no cause to feel shame for anything he has done.”

第十六勢 纏腕正絞
Posture 16: WRAPPING THE WRIST, TWINING CUT

口令(三)
Command: “Three!”
右足向左足左前拗步,訣撫腕,劍鋒隨步向裏絞一小圈。左足再向右足正前上步,右足提起,訣仍撫腕。同時,劍再隨步向裏絞一小圈,立刄,鋒前指,臂直,手心向左,虎口向前,目視下刄,如第十六圖甲勢。
Your right foot steps across to the left in front of your left foot to make a twisted stance, your hex going to your right wrist, as your sword twines inward [drawing the lower half of a clockwise circle], then your left foot steps forward directly in front of your right foot and your right foot lifts up, your hex staying at your right wrist, as your sword continues with its inward twining [drawing the upper half of a clockwise circle], the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing forward. Your gaze is toward the lower edge of your sword. See photo 16:

用法
Function:
敵用第三十八勢,纏腕反絞法,反絞我腕。我急以正絞法破之,腕圈讓其劍,劍繞絞其腕。絞圈時,乃先以左刄襲彼右腕裏面,乘彼反絞時,再就其腕下繞至彼腕外面,欲變成以我之下刄,斷彼右腕上面。
While the opponent performs Posture 38 (WRAPPING THE WRIST, REVERSE TWINING CUT) to do an outward twining cut to your right wrist, you quickly do an inward twining action to spoil his attack, arcing your wrist away to avoid his sword and twining with your sword to cut his right wrist. (When twining, you could first use the left-facing edge of your sword to attack the inside of his wrist, taking advantage of the moment while he is engaged in his outward twining action, then arc below and to the outside of his wrist, and switch to using the edge that is now facing downward to cut on top of his wrist.)
練法
Practice method:
右足拗步,訣撫腕,劍絞一圈,齊動。左足上步,右足提起,劍再絞一圈,齊動。
Your right foot steps across to make a twisted stance, your hex goes to your right wrist, and your sword twines a circle – all moving at the same time. Your left foot steps forward, your right foot lifts, and your sword twines another circle – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「纏」繞也。
“Wrapping” – to coil around.
「纏腕」以我之劍纏繞敵腕一周者,曰纏腕。
“Wrapping the wrist” – to use your sword to draw a circle around the opponent’s wrist.
「正絞」凡以劍由右下絞起者為正絞。
“Twining” – to send your sword arcing through a clockwise circle starting from the right.
「斷」截也,〔三國志〕張飛攻江州,獲嚴顏,飛曰,何不早降,顏曰,我州但有斷頭將軍,無降將軍。
“Cut” – to slice. It says in the Records of the Three Kingdoms [Kindgom of Shu, part 6, bio of Zhang Fei]: “Zhang Fei attacked Jiangzhou, capturing Yan Liang. Zhang asked Yan: ‘Why not surrender?’ Yan replied: ‘In our land, we only have generals who get their heads cut off, we don’t have any who surrender.’”
「斷腕」凡以下刄斷敵人之腕,而手心向左,虎口向前者,曰斷腕。
“Cut the wrist” – to use the lower edge of your sword to cut the opponent’s right wrist, the center of your hand facing to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing forward.

第十七勢 閃身帶劍
Posture 17: DODGING BODY, PULLING BACK THE SWORD

口令(四)
Command: “Four!”
身畧右轉,右足向右落步,曲膝,成右弓左箭襠,訣落左下,手心向左下,指尖向前。同時,劍隨步帶回,脊對左胸,柄對右耳,鋒指訣,右手心向前,虎口向左,頭左向,目左視,如第十七圖甲勢。
Your torso slightly turns to the right and your right foot comes down to the right, the knee bending, making a stance of right leg a bow, left leg an arrow, your hex lowering to the left, the center of the hand facing downward to the left, the fingers pointing forward, as your sword pulls back, the spine of the sword facing the left side of your chest, the handle aligned with your right ear, the tip pointing toward your hex, the center of your right hand facing forward, the tiger’s mouth facing to the left. Your head is turned to the left, your gaze to the left. See photo 17:

用法
Function:
上勢互相絞腕,至最後時,敵刄繞至我腕上面,有斷我腕之勢。我急閃身帶劍避之。
Just as the opponent’s reverse twining cut is about to reach the top of your wrist, you quickly evade by dodging your body away and pulling back your sword.
練法
Practice method:
翻腕,抽劍,轉身,右足退,訣分開,齊動。右足落步,左足撐直,訣左伸,劍帶回,齊動。
Your right wrist turns over, your sword starts to withdraw, your torso turns to the right, your right foot starts to retreat, and your hex spreads away – all moving at the same time. Your right foot comes down, your left leg straightens, your hex extends to the left, and your sword pulls back – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「閃身」側身避之曰閃身。
“Dodging body” – to turn your body sideways evasively.
「帶」佩也,〔禮〕帶以弓䪅。「䪅」音蜀,本作韣,所以韜弓矢之囊也。〔國策〕因罷兵倒䪅而去。
“Pull back” – as if to pull on, to wear, to adorn. It says in the Book of Rites [chapter 6]: “The king wore a bow case, from which he bestowed bows and arrows upon his honored attendants.” (This “bow case” was a bag for holding both bows and arrows together. The object was also mentioned in Annotations to Records of the Warring States [chapter 4]: “With hostilities ceased, bows were returned to their cases.”)
「帶劍」即以劍帶回之謂也。
“Pull back the sword” – to use your sword in an action of pulling back.

第十八勢 坐盤截腕
Posture 18: SITTING TWISTED, CHECKING CUT TO THE WRIST

口令(一)
Command: “One!”
左足向右進一步,右足再向右進一步,身由左後轉,兩足原地扭成拗步,曲膝下坐。訣撫腕,劍隨身轉向面前上截,立刄,鋒指右上。手心與左頰相對,虎口向右,頭右向,目視上刄,如第十八圖甲勢。
Your left foot retreats a step to the right, then your right foot also steps to the right, your torso turning to the left, your feet pivoting into a twisted stance, your knees bending to sit lower, your hex going to your right wrist, as your sword goes forward and upward with a checking action, the blade vertical, the tip pointing upward to the right, the center of the hand facing toward your left cheek, the tiger’s mouth facing to the right. Your head is turned to the right, your gaze toward the upper edge of your sword. See photo 18:

用法
Function:
敵用第三十九勢,蹤步劈頂法,迎面劈來。我急後退兩步,坐盤,以劍刄上截其腕。
The opponent performs Posture 39 (LEAPING STEP, CHOP TO THE HEAD) to chop to your face, so you quickly retreat two steps, get into a sitting-twisted stance, and send your sword upward with a checking cut to his wrist.
練法
Practice method:
左足先退,右足繼退,然後拗步,轉身,齊動,訣撫腕,劍上截,身下坐,齊動。
Your feet retreat, left then right, and you twist in your stance, your torso turning to the left – all moving at the same time. Your hex goes to your right wrist, your sword goes upward with a checking action, and your body sits down – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「坐盤截腕」見第十二勢註。
“Sitting twisted, checking cut to the wrist” – same as in Posture 12.
「頰」面旁也,俗謂之嘴巴,〔易〕咸其輔頰舌。
“Cheek” – the side of the face. It says in the Book of Changes [hexagram 31]: “Feelings manifest in the cheeks and tongue.”

第十九勢 提腿斬臂
Posture 19: LIFTED LEG, SLASHING TO THE ARM

口令(二)
Command: “Two!”
右足原地踏實,左足提起,微向後懸,身前探訣護額,手心向前,指尖向右。同時,劍由右向左下斬出,平刄,鋒低指右前,臂直,手心向上,虎口向前,目視左刄,如第十九圖甲勢。
Your right foot stays where it is, the foot coming down fully, and your left leg lifts to be hanging slightly behind you, your torso reaching forward, your hex guarding your forehead, the center of the hand facing forward, the fingers pointing to the right, as your sword slashes downward from right to left, the blade horizontal, the tip pointing downward to the forward right, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing upward, the tiger’s mouth facing forward. Your gaze is toward the left edge of your sword. See photo 19:

用法
Function:
敵用第四十勢,側身掃腿法,掃我左腿。我急提足向後讓其劍,落劍斬其臂,實則阻其掃腿之劍,不使前耳。若其不退,則右臂即為我左刄斷矣。
The opponent performs Posture 40 – SIDEWAYS BODY, SWEEPING CUT TO THE LEG to do a sweeping cut to your left leg, so your quickly lift your left foot away behind you to make way for his sword as you bring your sword down with a slashing cut to his arm, effectively blocking his sweeping cut to your leg by preventing it from coming forward, and if he does not retreat, his right arm will be cut by the left edge of your sword.
練法
Practice method:
起身,右足踏實,左足提起,落劍,起訣,皆為同時動作。
Your body rises, your right foot coming down fully, your left foot lifts, your sword lowers, and your hex rises – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「斬」殺也,斫也,凡以刄疾下擊之,皆曰斬。〔史記〕漢高祖醉行澤中,前有大蛇當徑,乃拔劍斬之。〔水經注〕澹臺子羽齋璧渡河,波起,而蛟夾舟,子羽曰,吾可以義求,不可以成劫,操劍斬蛟。用於此處,凡以左刄橫擊敵人,而手心向上者,謂之斬,如斬腿,斬臂等是也。
“Slashing” – to smash, to hack, to use the edge to quickly strike downward. An anecdote in the Historical Records [chapter 8] depicts Liu Bang walking drunk in a marshy area and says that “a huge serpent appeared in his path… so he pulled out his sword and hacked its head off.” It says in the Commentary on the Water Classic [chapter 5]: “While Tantai Miewang was transporting some priceless pieces of jade across the river, waves suddenly arose and then a couple of huge serpents trapped his boat. Tantai said: ‘I can’t prevent them from robbing me, but at least I can get justice.’ So he grabbed his sword and hacked off their heads.” This technique involves using the left edge to strike across to the opponent, the center of the hand facing upward, slashing either to his leg or his arm.

第二十勢 落步撩腕
Posture 20: STEP DOWN, RAISING CUT TO THE WRIST

口令(三)
Command: “Three!”
左足向後落步,右足畧收虛步,身畧後仰,訣稍落,即隨劍上提護額,手心向上,指尖向右。同時,劍向上撩起,立刄,鋒畧低,臂高,腕懸,手心向下,虎口向上,劍柄約與頭部相對,目視上刄,如第二十圖甲勢。
Your left foot comes down to the rear and your right foot slightly pulls back to make an empty stance, your body slightly leaning back, your hex slightly lowering to guard your head, the center of the hand facing upward, the fingers pointing to the right, as your sword rises up, the blade vertical, the tip pointing slightly downward, your right arm high, the wrist drooping, the center of the hand facing downward, the tiger’s mouth facing upward, the handle at about head level. Your gaze is toward the upper edge of your sword. See photo 20:

用法
Function:
敵用第四十一勢,抽劍刺喉法,既讓我劍,又刺我喉,我急落步提劍撩其腕。
The opponent performs Posture 41 (WITHDRAW THE SWORD, STAB TO THE THROAT), evading your sword and then stabbing toward your throat, so you quickly bring your left foot down and lift your sword with a raising cut to his wrist.
練法
Practice method:
落步,收步,提劍,皆為同時動作。
Your left foot comes down, your right foot pulls back, and your sword lifts – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「撩」挑弄也,〔三國志〕但持長矛撩戰。
“Raise” – to flourish daringly. It says in Records of the Three Kingdoms [Kingdom of Wei, part 18, bio of Dian Wei]: “[Though they cast aside their armor,] they still held onto their spears and raised their halberds.”
「撩腕」凡以上刄由下而上撩敵腕,高鋒者為挑,低鋒者為撩。
“Raising cut to the wrist” – to send the upper edge of your sword upward from below, raising toward the opponent’s wrist. The sword tip pointing upward would make it a “carrying” cut, whereas the tip pointing downward makes it a “raising” cut.

第二十一勢 攔臂掃腹
Posture 21: BLOCKING CUT TO THE ARM, SWEEPING CUT TO THE BELLY

口令(四)
Command: “Four!”
右足提起,訣撫腕,劍向右下抽攔,鋒指左,手心向下。右足再向左前落步,足尖向右,左足跟稍起,成拗步式,身前探,訣仍撫腕,劍隨步橫向前掃出,平刄,鋒右指,與腹部相對,臂直,手心向上,虎口向右,目視前刄,如第二十一圖。
Your right leg lifts, your hex going to your right wrist, as your sword pulls back with a blocking cut downward to the right, the tip pointing to the left, the center of your right hand facing downward. Then your right foot steps down to the forward left, the toes turned out to the right, your left heel slightly lifted, making a twisted stance, your torso reaching forward, your hex staying at your right wrist, as your sword goes across with a sweeping cut, the blade horizontal, the tip pointing to the right at belly level, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing upward, the tiger’s mouth facing to the right. Your gaze is toward the forward edge of your sword. See photo 21:

用法
Function:
敵用第四十二勢,閃腕掃腿法,閃開我上勢之撩,反來掃我右腿。我急提腿向左一讓,右攔其臂,左掃其腹。
The opponent performs Posture 42 (DODGING WRIST, SWEEPING CUT TO THE LEG), dodging your raising cut and countering with a sweeping cut to your right leg, so you quickly lift your leg to the left in order to avoid it as your sword goes to the right with a blocking cut to his right arm, then do a sweeping cut to his belly.
練法
Practice method:
提足至左,落劍至右,齊動。右足落步,訣撫腕,劍掃出,齊動。
Your right foot lifts to the left and your sword lowers to the right – both moving at the same time. Your right foot steps down, your hex goes to your right wrist, and your sword sweeps out – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「掃」拚除也。〔晉書〕掃蕩仇恥。
“Sweeping” – to clear away. It says in the Book of Jin [volume 62, bio of Liu Kun]: “Sweep them aside to avenge our humiliation.”
「掃腹」即以我之劍,橫掃敵人腹部也。
“Sweeping cut to the belly” – to send your sword sweeping across to the opponent’s belly.

第二十二勢 退步翻撩
Posture 22: RETREAT, OVERTURNED RAISING CUT

口令(一)
Command: “One!”
承上勢,左足向右足左前上半步,足尖內扣。右足向左足右前上半步,足尖向外。左足再向右足左前上半步,右足向左後退步,膝直,成左弓右箭襠。同時,訣隨步由下後伸,手心向後,劍隨步由上向左後繞,至下,翻向前撩出,立刄,鋒前指,臂直,手心向右,虎口向左下,目視上刄,如第二十二圖甲勢。
Continuing from the previous posture, your left foot goes forward a half step in front of your right foot, the toes turning inward, then your right foot goes forward a half step in front of your left foot, the toes turning outward, and your left foot again goes forward a half step in front of your right foot [amounting to three steps walking the edge of a circle]. Then your right foot retreats a full step behind you [the fourth step going out of the circle altogether], the knee straightening, making a stance of left leg a bow, right leg an arrow, your hex extending to behind from below, the center of the hand facing to the rear, as your sword arcs to the left, to the rear, downward, and forward with an overturned raising cut, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the right, the tiger’s mouth facing downward to the left. Your gaze is toward the upper edge of your sword. See photo 22:

用法
Function:
敵繞步讓劍,讓至第三步時,用第四十三勢,上步刺肋法,刺我右肋。我急退步翻撩其腕,翻撩,乃先讓而後攻也。
The opponent walks in three arcing steps to avoid your sword and then performs Posture 43 (STEP FORWARD, STAB TO THE RIBS) to stab to your right ribs, so you quickly retreat and do an overturned raising cut to his right wrist, first avoiding his sword and then counterattacking.
練法
Practice method:
左足先上步,右足繼上步,左足再上步,然後右足撤退,劍翻撩,訣後伸,皆為同時動作。
First your left foot steps forward, then your right foot, then your left foot again. Then your right foot retreats, your sword goes out with an overturned raising cut, and your hex extends behind – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「退步」後退一步曰退步。
“Retreat” – to retreat a full step.
「翻」覆轉也。
“Overturned” – turned over.
「翻撩」凡以劍由左後繞下,至前反撩敵腕,而手心向右,虎口向下者,為翻撩。
“Overturned raising cut” – your sword arcs to the left, to the rear, downward, and forward under the opponent’s wrist, the center of your right hand facing to the right, the tiger’s mouth facing downward.

第二十三勢 上步刺肋
Posture 23: STEP FORWARD, STAB TO THE RIBS

口令(二)
Command: “Two!”
右足上半步虛勢,左足原地曲膝,劍轉正縮回,柄抵小腹,立刄,鋒前指,約與心部相對,訣撫腕,右足再向前落步,曲膝,成右弓左箭襠。同時,訣向後伸,手心向後,指尖向上,與頭部相對,劍亦隨步向前刺出,立刄,鋒前指,臂直,手心向左,虎口向上,目視劍鋒,如第二十三圖甲勢。
Your right foot goes a half step forward, making an empty stance, your left foot staying where it is, the knee bending, as your sword pulls back, turning over, the handle going near your lower abdomen, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward at solar plexus level, your hex going to your right wrist. [See the empty-stance positions in the photo below.] Then your right foot comes down forward, the knee bending, making a stance of right leg a bow, left leg an arrow, your hex extending behind you, the center of the hand facing to the rear, the fingers pointing upward at head level, as your sword stabs out forward, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing upward. Your gaze is toward the forward edge of your sword. See photo 23 [the bow-stance positions]:

用法
Function:
敵用第四十四勢,退步翻撩法取我。我即乘其收步抱劍時,上步刺其右肋。
The opponent begins to perform Posture 44 (RETREAT, OVERTURNED RAISING CUT) and you take advantage of the moment when he withdraws to a position of embracing his sword by stepping forward and stabbing to his right ribs.
練法
Practice method:
右足虛步,劍縮回,訣撫腕,齊動。右足向前落步,訣後伸,劍刺出,齊動。
Your right foot makes an empty step, your sword pulls back, and your hex goes to your right wrist – all moving at the same time. Your right foot comes down forward, your hex extends to the rear, and your sword stabs out – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「虛勢」一足踏實,一足僅以足掌踏地,而足跟稍提者,為虛步。
“Empty stance” – one foot stands flat on the ground while the other foot touches down only with the ball of the foot, the heel slightly lifted.
「原地」凡足承上勢,而未變換者,或畧有變換,而仍落於原處者,皆曰原地。
“Staying where it is” – a foot continues its placement from the previous posture without changing its location, or it may slightly adjust while still remaining in the same place.

第二十四勢 退步翻撩
Posture 24: RETREAT, OVERTURNED RAISING CUT

口令(三)
Command: “Three!”
身向左轉,右足收回點步,左足原地曲膝,訣撫腕,劍隨步抽回翻轉,立刄,手心對左頰,虎口向右,鋒右指,頭右向,目視右。
Your torso turns to the left and your right foot withdraws, touching down with the toes, your left knee bending, your hex going to your right wrist, as your sword pulls back, the blade turning over so that the center of your right hand is facing toward your left cheek, the tiger’s mouth facing to the right, the blade vertical, the tip pointing to the right. Your head is turned to the right, your gaze to the right. See photo 24a:

右足再向左後退步,膝直,成左弓右箭襠,同時,訣由下後伸,手心向後,劍由上向左後繞,翻向前撩出,立刄,鋒向前,臂直,手心向右,虎口向左下,目視上刄,如第二十四圖甲勢。
Your right foot then retreats to the right rear, the knee straightening, making a stance of left leg a bow, right leg an arrow, your hex extending behind from below, the center of the hand facing to the rear, as your sword arcs to the left, to the rear, downward, and forward with an overturned raising cut, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the right, the tiger’s mouth facing downward to the left. Your gaze is toward the upper edge of your sword. See photo 24b [repeat of photo 22]:

用法
Function:
敵用第四十五勢,上步刺肋法,刺我右肋,我急退步讓劍,翻撩其腕。
The opponent performs Posture 45 (STEP FORWARD, STAB TO THE RIBS) to stab to your right ribs, so you quickly retreat to avoid his sword and do an overturned raising cut to his wrist.
練法
Practice method:
右足點步,劍抽回,訣撫腕,齊動。劍撩出,訣後伸,右足後退,齊動。
Your right foot touches down with the toes, your sword pulls back, and your hex goes to your right wrist – all moving at the same time. Your sword goes out with an overturned raising cut, your hex extends to the rear, and your right foot retreats – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「點步」一足踏實,一足僅以足尖點地者,為點步。
“Touching down with the toes” – while one foot is flat on the ground, the other touches down only with the toes.

第二十五勢 上步刺肋
Posture 25: STEP FORWARD, STAB TO THE RIBS

口令(四)
Command: “Four!”
右足上半步,虛勢,左足原地曲膝,劍轉正縮回,柄抵小腹,立刄,鋒前指,與心部相對,訣撫腕。右足再向前進落步,曲膝,成右弓左箭襠。同時,訣向後伸,手心向後,指尖向上,與頭部相對,劍亦隨步向前刺出,立刄,鋒前指,臂直,手心向左,虎口向上,目視劍鋒,如第二十五圖甲勢。
Your right foot goes a half step forward, making an empty stance, your left foot staying where it is, the knee bending, as your sword pulls back, turning over, the handle going near your lower abdomen, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward at solar plexus level, your hex going to your right wrist. Then your right foot comes down forward, the knee bending, making a stance of right leg a bow, left leg an arrow, your hex extending behind you, the center of the hand facing to the rear, the fingers pointing upward at head level, as your sword stabs out forward, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing upward. Your gaze is toward your sword tip. See photo 25 [repeat of photo 23]:

用法
Function:
敵用第四十六勢,退步翻撩法取我。我急乘其收步抱劍時,上步刺其右肋。
The opponent begins to perform Posture 46 (RETREAT, OVERTURNED RAISING CUT) and you take advantage of the moment when he withdraws to a position of embracing his sword by stepping forward and stabbing to his right ribs.
練法
Practice method:
右足虛步,劍縮回,訣撫腕,齊動。右足進步,訣後伸,劍刺出,齊動。
Your right foot makes an empty step, your sword pulls back, and your hex goes to your right wrist – all moving at the same time. Your right foot advances, your hex extends to the rear, and your sword stabs out – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「指」向也,〔韓非子〕虞公與夏戰,日欲落,公以劍指日,日為退不落。用於此處,「鋒前指」之指,作向字解,「指尖向上」之指,作手指解。
“Pointing” – to point toward. It says in Hanfeizi [Night Navigation, volume 1]: “While the Duke of Yu battled against the King of Xia, the sun was about to set, so he pointed his sword at the sun, and this prevented it from setting.” In this posture, “the tip pointing forward” refers to pointing involving the sword, whereas “the fingers pointing upward” refers to pointing involving the fingers.

第二十六勢 退步翻撩
Posture 26: RETREAT, OVERTURNED RAISING CUT

口令(一)
Command: “One!”
身向左轉,右足收回點步,左足原地曲膝,訣撫腕,劍隨步抽回翻轉,立刄,手心對左頰,虎口向右,鋒右指,頭右向,目視右。
Your torso turns to the left and your right foot withdraws, touching down with the toes, your left knee bending, your hex going to your right wrist, as your sword pulls back, the blade turning over so that the center of your right hand is facing toward your left cheek, the tiger’s mouth facing to the right, the blade vertical, the tip pointing to the right. Your head is turned to the right, your gaze to the right. See photo 26a [repeat of photo 24a]:

右足再向左後退步,膝直,成左弓右箭襠,同時,訣由下後伸,手心向後,劍由上向左後繞,翻向前撩出,立刄,鋒向前,臂直,手心向右,虎口向左下,目視上刄,如第二十六圖甲勢。
Your right foot then retreats to the right rear, the knee straightening, making a stance of left leg a bow, right leg an arrow, your hex extending behind from below, the center of the hand facing to the rear, as your sword arcs to the left, to the rear, downward, and forward with an overturned raising cut, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the right, the tiger’s mouth facing downward to the left. Your gaze is toward the upper edge of your sword. See photo 26b [repeat of photo 22]:

用法
Function:
敵用第四十七勢,上步刺肋法,刺我右肋。我急退步讓劍,翻撩其腕。
The opponent performs Posture 47 (STEP FORWARD, STAB TO THE RIBS) to stab to your right ribs, so you quickly retreat to avoid his sword and again do an overturned raising cut to his wrist.
練法
Practice method:
右足點步,劍抽回,訣撫腕,齊動。劍撩出,訣後伸,右足後退,齊動。
Your right foot touches down with the toes, your sword pulls back, and your hex goes to your right wrist – all moving at the same time. Your sword goes out with an overturned raising cut, your hex extends to the rear, and your right foot retreats – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「虎口」大指與食指之歧骨間為虎口,手陽明經脈起於大指次指之端,出合谷穴兩骨之間,俗名虎口,見〔醫宗金鑑〕。
“Tiger’s mouth” – It says in Lessons in the Medical Tradition: “The ‘tiger’s mouth’ is the area between the root bones of the thumb and forefinger at the Hegu acupoint along the large intestine meridian (LI 4).”

第二十七勢 進步劈頂
Posture 27: ADVANCE, CHOP TO THE HEAD

口令(二)
Command: “Two!”
身畧左轉,右足向前進一步,左足向前併步,曲膝,訣撫腕。同時,劍由左下揚起,隨步向前劈下,立刄,鋒畧低,臂直,手心向左,虎口向上,目視前下,如第二十七圖甲勢。
Your torso turns slightly to the left, your right foot advances a step, and your left foot goes forward to stand next to it, your knees bending, your hex going to your right wrist, as your sword lowers to the left, rises up, and chops down forward, the blade vertical, the tip slightly higher than the handle, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing upward. Your gaze is forward and downward. See photo 27:

用法
Function:
敵用第四十八勢,格腕閃身法,我即進步劈其頂。
The opponent performs Posture 48 (DODGING BODY, BRACING TO THE WRIST), so you advance and chop to his head.
練法
Practice method:
右足上步,訣至前,劍揚起,齊動。左足併步,訣撫腕,劍劈下,齊動。
Your right foot steps forward, the hex goes forward, and your sword rises up – all moving at the same time. Your left foot steps next to your right foot, your hex goes to your right wrist, and your sword chops down – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「劈」分也,裂破也。
“Chop” – to divide in half, to split open.
「劈頂」凡以劍由上下劈敵頂者,為劈頂。
“Chop to the head” – to send your sword chopping down from above toward the opponent’s head.
「揚」舉也,〔李白文〕何惜階前盈尺之地,不使白揚眉吐氣,激昂青雲耶。
“Rises” – to lift up. It says in the writings of Li Bai [“Letter to Han Chaozong, Governor of Jingzhou”]: “Why will you not receive me in front of your steps, keeping me from lifting my eyebrows with a sigh of pride and raising my spirit to the clouds?”

第二十八勢 退步掤劍
Posture 28: RETREAT, FLICKING CUT

口令(三)
Command: “Three!”
左足後退一步,右足後退一步,左足再後退併步,膝直。同時,訣起護額,手心向上,指尖向右,劍隨步掤起,立刄,鋒指前上,右臂稍曲,肘尖向後,手心對腰,虎口向前,目前視,如第二十八圖甲勢。
Your left foot retreats a step, your right foot retreats a step, and then your left foot retreats again to stand next to your right foot, your right knee straightening, your hex lifting up to guard your forehead, the center of the hand facing upward, the fingers pointing to the right, as your sword flicks up, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward and upward, your right arm slightly bending, the elbow pointing to the rear, the center of the hand facing toward your waist, the tiger’s mouth facing forward. Your gaze is forward. See the outer figures in the photo for the following posture.
用法
Function:
至此上半套告一段落,敵即挺身掤劍,我即後退掤劍,以備再戰。
Having completed the first half of the set, the opponent performs STRAIGHTEN THE BODY, FLICKING CUT and you perform RETREAT, FLICKING CUT in preparation to recommence the fight.
練法
Practice method:
左足退步,訣起,劍掤,齊動。右足退步,次動。左足併步,與挺膝,齊動。
Your left foot retreats, your hex lifts up, and your sword flicks up – all moving at the same time. Your right foot retreats, then your left foot steps next to your right foot and your knees straighten – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「掤劍」凡劍鋒由下猛起,而柄下垂者,曰掤劍。
“Flicking” – the sword tip suddenly lifts up from below, the handle dropping down.

第二十九勢 墊步刺胸
Posture 29: SKIPPING STEP, STAB TO THE CHEST

口令(四)
Command: “Four!”
左足提起,向前跳一墊步,右足向前落步,曲膝,成右弓左箭襠,訣撫腕,劍隨右步向前刺出,立刄,臂直,手心向左,虎口向上,目視劍鋒,如第二十九圖甲勢。
Your left foot lifts, you go forward with a skipping step, your left foot comes down, and your right foot goes forward, the knee bending, making a stance of right leg a bow, left leg an arrow, your hex going to your right wrist, as your sword stabs out forward, the blade vertical, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing upward. Your gaze is toward your sword tip. See the inner figures in photo 29:

用法
Function:
與敵相距稍遠,進一步,刺之不到,故用墊步法,直刺其胸,因左足向前為一步,墊步為半步,右足向前落步又為一步,共進兩步半,故能追及之。敵用第七勢提足剪腕法,剪我腕。
The opponent is now too far away for you to simply advance a step and reach him with a stab, therefore you do a skipping step for your stab to get to his chest. Your left foot goes forward a step, the skip adds a half step, and then your right foot goes forward a step, amounting to two and half steps of distance covered, enabling you to reach him. The opponent responds with Posture 7 (LIFTED LEG, SHEARING CUT TO THE WRIST).
練法
Practice method:
左足提起先動,左足墊步,與右足前進齊動。訣撫腕,劍刺出,與右足落步,齊動。
Your left foot lifts up and you skip forward, your right foot advancing – both moving at the same time. Your hex goes to your right wrist, your sword stabs out, and your right foot steps forward – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「墊步」凡向前跳一步而前進者,曰墊步。
“Skipping step” – advancing with a small hop.

第三十勢 提腿掛耳
Posture 30: LIFTED LEG, HANGING CUT TO THE EAR

口令(一)
Command: “One!”
左足提起,身畧左轉,同時,訣起護額,手心向上,指尖向右,劍向右上掛,平刄,鋒向右,與耳部相對,臂直,手心向上,虎口向右,身微仰,目視外刄,如第三十圖甲勢。
Your left leg lifts up, your torso turning to the left, your hex lifting up to guard your head, the center of the hand facing upward, the fingers pointing to the right, as your sword goes upward to the right with a hanging cut, the blade horizontal, the tip pointing to the right at ear level, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing upward, the tiger’s mouth facing to the right, your upper body slightly leaning back. Your gaze is toward the outer edge of your sword. See photo 30:

用法
Function:
敵用第七勢,提足剪腕法,剪我上勢刺胸之腕。我急提足,以外刄上掛其耳,敵用第八勢,落步截腕法拒我。
The opponent performs Posture 7 (LIFTED LEG, SHEARING CUT TO THE WRIST), attacking your right wrist while you attempt to stab to his chest, so you quickly lift up your rear leg in order to reach his ear with a hanging cut using the outer edge of your sword. The opponent responds with Posture 8 (STEP DOWN, CHECKING CUT TO THE WRIST) to counter this.
練法
Practice method:
訣護額,劍上掛,與左足提起,皆為同時動作。
Your hex guards your head, your sword goes upward with a hanging cut, and your left leg lifts – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「掛耳」凡劍從身之側面割取敵耳,而手心向上者曰掛耳。
“Hanging cut to the ear” – your sword goes to the side to cut the opponent’s ear, the center of your right hand facing upward.
「外刄」凡劍立刄,以上下分,平,陂,以左右分,橫劍,以內外分。
“Outer edge” – when the blade is vertical, it divides into an edge facing upward and an edge facing downward; when horizontal or slanted, it divides into an edge facing to the left and an edge facing to the right; when the sword is moving across, the blade divides into an edge that is facing inward from the movement and outward from the movement.

第三十一勢 落步斬腿
Posture 31: STEP DOWN, SLASHING TO THE LEG

口令(二)
Command: “Two!”
身畧左轉,左足向左落步,曲膝,成騎馬襠,訣落左膝,手心向下,指尖畧向右前,劍翻落,向右揮出,平刄,鋒右指,高與脛齊,臂直,手心向下,虎口向前,頭右向,目視後刄,如第三十一圖甲勢。
Your torso slightly turns to the left and your left foot comes down to the left, the knee bending, making a horse-riding stance, your hex lowering by your left knee, the center of the hand facing downward, the fingers pointing forward and slightly to the right, as your sword lowers, the blade turning over, and wipes across to the right with the blade horizontal, the tip pointing to the right at shin level, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing downward, the tiger’s mouth facing forward. Your head is turned to the right, your gaze toward the rear-facing edge of your sword. See photo 31:

用法
Function:
敵用第八勢,落步截腕法,讓開我上勢之掛耳,反截我右腕。我急落劍揮其腿。敵用第九勢,攔我右臂。
The opponent performs Posture 8 (STEP DOWN, CHECKING CUT TO THE WRIST) to prevent your hanging cut by countering with a checking cut to your wrist, so you quickly lower your sword and do a wiping cut to his leg, which he responds to by performing Posture 9 (LIFTING LEG, BLOCKING CUT TO THE ARM) in order to block your arm.
練法
Practice method:
左足落步,劍揮出,訣至膝,齊動。
Your left foot comes down, your sword wipes across, and your hex lowers near your left knee – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「揮」搖手曰揮,反手曰霍。
“Wiping” – to wave the hand across. If the hand is turned over, this would be called “clouding”.
「脛」小腿內側之骨曰脛。
“Shin” – boney inside side of the lower leg.

第三十二勢 原地抱劍
Posture 32: STAYING WHERE YOU ARE, EMBRACE THE SWORD

口令(三)
Command: “Three!”
兩足原地不動,訣撫腕,劍抽回翻轉,手心對胸,虎口向右,立刄,鋒指右,劍身平,頭右向,目右視,如第三十二圖甲勢。
With your feet staying where they are, your hex goes to your right wrist as your sword pulls back, turning over, the blade finishing in a vertical position, the center of your right hand facing toward your chest, the tiger’s mouth facing to the right, the sword tip pointing forward to the right, the sword body level. Your head is turned to the right, your gaze to the right. See photo 32:

用法
Function:
敵用第九勢,提足攔臂法,讓我劍,攔我臂,我急縮回抱劍以解之。
The opponent performs Posture 9 – LIFTED LEG, BLOCKING CUT TO THE ARM, thereby both evading your sword and sending a cut to your arm, so you quickly withdraw to the position of embracing your sword to dispel the threat.
練法
Practice method:
劍抽回翻轉,訣撫腕,齊動。此勢與下面退步刺胸法,實為一氣。
Your sword pulls back, turning over, and your hex comes to your right wrist – both moving at the same time. (This posture continues right into the following posture, the two actions performed as a single flow.)
附註
Terminology:
「抱」見第二勢註。
“Embracing” – same as in Posture 2.
「原地」見第二十三勢註。
“Staying where they are” – same idea as in Posture 23 [except now applying to both feet].

第三十三勢 退步刺腹
Posture 33: RETREAT, STAB TO THE BELLY

口令(四)
Command: “Four!”
身畧右轉,左足原地曲膝,右足退步撐直,成左弓右箭襠。同時,訣由左後伸,手心向後,指尖向上,劍隨步向前刺出,立刄,鋒與腹部相對,臂直,手心向左,虎口向上,目視劍鋒,如第三十三圖甲勢。
Your torso turns slightly to the right, your left foot adjusting its position where it is, the knee bending, your right foot retreating, the leg straightening, making a stance of left leg a bow, right leg an arrow, your hex extending to the left rear, the center of the hand facing to the rear, the fingers pointing upward, as your sword stabs out forward, the blade vertical, the tip at belly level, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing upward. Your gaze is toward your sword tip. See photo 33:

用法
Function:
敵用第十勢,落步刺肋法,刺來。我急退步讓其鋒,出劍刺其腹。
The opponent performs Posture 10 (STEP DOWN, STAB TO THE RIBS), so you quickly retreat to avoid his sword tip, then send your sword stabbing out toward his belly.
練法
Practice method:
訣至後,劍刺出,與右足退步,皆為同時動作。
Your hex goes behind, your sword stabs out, and your right foot retreats – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「撐」斜柱也。用於此處,乃挺膝撐直也。
“Straightening” – supporting like a slanted pillar. (From the poetry of Han Yu [“Southern Wall (of Xi’an) Partner Couplets” (written with Meng Jiao – the particular line by Han Yu)]: [Meng cuing with “The vanity of fresh-cut jade…”, Han responding with:] “A ruined tree stump will support me just fine.”) The usage in this case is that the rear leg extends at the knee until pressed straight.

第三十四勢 抽劍戳面
Posture 34: WITHDRAW THE SWORD, JAB TO THE FACE

口令(一)
Command: “One!”
身向左轉,右足原地曲膝,左足提起,同時,訣撫腕,劍隨左足抽回,由右上向左戳出,立刄,鋒向左,手背對右額,虎口向左,頭左向,目視劍鋒,如第三十四圖之甲勢。
Your torso turns to the right, your right foot staying where it is, the knee bending, your hex pointing forward, as your sword pulls back to the upper right, the blade turning over. Then your left foot lifts and your hex goes to your right wrist as your sword jabs out to the left, the blade vertical, the tip pointing to the left, the back of your right hand facing toward the right side of your forehead, the tiger’s mouth facing to the left. Your head is turned to the left, your gaze toward your sword tip. See photo 34:

用法
Function:
敵用第十一勢,上步剪腕法,剪我右腕。我急提足抽劍破其剪,送劍戳其面。
The opponent performs Posture 11 (STEP FORWARD, SHEARING CUT TO THE WRIST) to attack your right wrist, so you quickly pull back your sword to ruin his shearing cut, then lift your left foot and send out your sword with a jab to his face.
練法
Practice method:
轉身,抽劍,訣至前,齊動。提足,劍戳出,訣撫腕,齊動。
Your torso turns to the right, your sword pulls back, and your hex points forward – all moving at the same time. Your left foot lifts, your sword jabs out, and your hex goes to your right wrist – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「抽劍」凡劍由前而直向回縮者,曰抽劍。
“Withdraw the sword” – to pull your sword straight back.
「戳」音曲,以尖銳之器刺物,曰戳。
“Jab” – to poke with the tip.
「戳面」凡以劍鋒戳敵面部者,曰戳面。
“Jab to the face” – to poke toward the opponent’s face.

第三十五勢 上步格劍
Posture 35: STEP FORWARD, BRACING SWORDS

口令(二)
Command: “Two!”
身畧左轉,左足落步,右足上步,身再左轉,左足併步,膝直。同時,訣向左伸直,手心向左,指尖向上。劍隨步轉向右架出,陂刄,鋒右指,臂直,手心向上,頭右向,目視前刄,如第三十五圖甲勢。
Your left foot comes down, your torso turning slightly to the right, your right foot steps forward, your torso turning to the left, and your left foot steps next to your right foot, your knees straightening, your hex extending to the left, the center of the hand facing to the left, the fingers pointing upward, as your sword braces out to the right, the blade turning over to finish in a slanted position, the tip pointing to the right, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing upward to the left. Your head is turned to the right, your gaze toward the forward edge of your sword. See photo 35. [There is no photo 35, but it would be the same as photo 13, except with the roles reversed.]
用法
Function:
敵用第十二勢,坐盤截腕法,上刄戳我右腕。我急落步轉腕,讓彼劍,退彼腕,上步轉身,直至併步格劍,皆所以讓劍追腕,因敵亦用上步格劍法拒我也。
The opponent performs Posture 12 (SITTING TWISTED, CHECKING CUT TO THE WRIST), using the upper edge of his sword to do a checking cut to your right wrist, so you quickly bring your foot down and circle away your wrist to avoid his sword, then as he pulls back his sword, you step forward, turning your body, and step your left foot next to your right foot, your sword bracing against his, and since you are both evading each other’s sword and then chasing each other’s right wrist, he is likewise stepping forward and bracing his sword against yours.
練法
Practice method:
左足落步,身畧左轉,落劍,轉腕,齊動。右足上步,身再左轉,齊動。左足併步,訣左伸,劍格出,齊動。
Your left foot comes down, your torso slightly turns to the right, your sword lowers, and the blade turns over – all moving at the same time. Your right foot steps forward and your torso turns to the left – both moving at the same time. Your left foot steps next to your right foot, your hex extends to the left, and your sword braces against his – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「格劍」二劍相交,彼不能來,我不能往,謂之格劍。
“Bracing swords” – both swords are crossed so that he cannot get near you and you cannot get near him.
「截」音集,斷也,〔宋太祖實錄〕所過池苑,多令衛士,射雕截柳。
“Checking” – to interrupt or cut off. It says in Records of the First Song Emperor: “He has his mounted archers fire clear over the pond into the gardens and calls upon his bodyguard archers to shoot down vultures and cut off willow branches.
「截腕」見第八勢註。
“Checking cut to the wrist” – same as in Posture 8.

第三十六勢 撤劍坐盤
Posture 36: WITHDRAWING THE SWORD, SITTING TWISTED

口令(三)
Command: “Three!”
左足向左後撤半步,右足再向左足左後撤退,點步,曲膝下坐,成坐盤式,訣由前隨劍下落,手心向下,指尖向前。同時,劍隨步撤回下落右側,立刄,劍身平,鋒前向,臂微含,手心向裏,虎口向前,目前視,如第三十六圖甲勢。
Your left foot withdraws a half step to the left rear, then your right foot withdraws behind your left foot, touching down with the toes, the knee bending, making a sitting-twisted stance, as your sword [lowers into a hanging action and then] pulls back, lowering at your right side, the blade vertical, the sword body placed level, the tip pointing forward, your right arm slightly shrugging, the center of the hand facing inward, the tiger’s mouth facing forward, your hex [going forward and then] likewise lowering at your left side, the center of the hand facing downward, the fingers pointing forward. Your gaze is forward. See photo 36:

用法
Function:
敵用第三十勢,上步格劍法,變成兩不相下之勢,乃接用第十四勢,撤劍坐盤法撤退,故我亦以撤劍坐盤法分開。
The opponent performs Posture 13 – STEP FORWARD, BRACING SWORDS, matching your use of the same technique, so you both retreat into the posture of WITHDRAWING THE SWORD, SITTING TWISTED in order to spread apart.
練法
Practice method:
左足退步,訣至前,劍下掛,齊動。右足退步,坐盤,劍下壓,訣下垂,齊動。
Your left foot retreats, your hex goes forward, and your sword lowers with a hanging action – all moving at the same time. Your right foot retreats into a sitting-twisted stance, your sword presses down, and your hex lowers – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「撤劍」見第十四勢註。
“Withdrawing the sword” – same as in Posture 14.
「坐盤」見第十二勢註。
“Sitting-twisted stance” – same as in Posture 12.

第三十七勢 仰胸刺喉
Posture 37: LEANING BACK, STAB TO THE THROAT

口令(四)
Command: “Four!”
左足原地立起,右足向右上步,膝微曲,訣護左額,手心向上,指尖向右,上身畧向後仰。同時,劍向左前刺出,平刄,鋒與喉部相對,臂直,手心向下,虎口向前,目視劍鋒,如第三十七圖甲勢。
With your left foot staying where it is, your right foot steps forward to the right, the knee bending, your left leg straightening, your hex rising to guard your head, the center of the hand facing upward, the fingers pointing to the right, your upper body slightly leaning back, as your sword stabs out forward to the left, the blade horizontal, the tip pointing toward the opponent’s throat, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing downward, the tiger’s mouth facing forward. Your gaze is toward your sword tip. See photo 37:

用法
Function:
敵用第十五勢,仰胸刺喉法刺我。我亦以仰胸刺喉法刺彼,上身後仰,即讓其劍鋒也。
The opponent performs Posture 40 – LEANING BACK, STAB TO THE THROAT, so you do likewise, your upper body leaning back to avoid his sword tip.
練法
Practice method:
身起,劍起,訣起,足起,齊動。身仰,劍刺出,訣護額,右足落步,齊動。
Your body rises, your sword rises, your hex rises, and your right foot starts to step – all moving at the same time. Your upper body leans back, your hex guards your head, your sword stabs out, and your right foot comes down – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「喉」在喉間氣管之上端,上通咽頭,為空氣出入之道,係數枚輭骨所成,各輭骨皆有筋肉連之,內附發聲用之聲帶。
“Throat” – the area between the trachea and the pharynx, where air passes through the windpipe’s many rings of cartilage and the vocal cords produce sound.

第三十八勢 纏腕反絞
Posture 38: WRAPPING THE WRIST, REVERSE TWINING CUT

口令(一)
Command: “One!”
右足向左足左前拗步,訣撫腕,劍就面前,隨步反絞一圈,左足向右足正前上步,右足提起,訣仍撫腕,同時,劔再隨步向前反絞一圈,立刄,鋒前指,臂直,手心向左,虎口向前,目視下刄,如第三十八圖甲勢。
Your right foot steps across to the left in front of your left foot to make a twisted stance, your hex going to your right wrist, as your sword twines outward [drawing the lower half of a counterclockwise circle], then your left foot steps forward directly in front of your right foot and your right foot lifts up, your hex staying at your right wrist, as your sword continues with its outward twining [drawing the upper half of a counterclockwise circle], the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing forward. Your gaze is toward the lower edge of your sword. See photo 38:

用法
Function:
敵用第十六勢,纏腕正絞法,絞我腕。我急以反絞法破之,腕反繞,讓其劍,劍反絞,割其腕。
While the opponent performs Posture 16 (WRAPPING THE WRIST, TWINING CUT), doing a inward twining cut to your right wrist, you quickly do an outward twining action to spoil his attack, arcing your wrist away to avoid his sword and twining with your sword to cut his right wrist.
練法
Practice method:
右足拗步,訣撫腕,劍絞一圈,齊動。左足上步,右足提起,劍再絞一圈,齊動。
Your right foot steps across to make a twisted stance, your hex goes to your right wrist, and your sword twines a circle – all moving at the same time. Your left foot steps forward, your right foot lifts, and your sword twines another circle – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「反絞」凡以劍由左上絞下一周者,為反絞。
“Reverse twining” – to send your sword arcing through a counterclockwise circle starting from the left.

第三十九勢 蹤步劈頂
Posture 39: LEAPING STEP, CHOP TO THE HEAD

口令(二)
Command: “Two!”
右足前進跳起,左足跟步,右足仍向前落步,曲膝,成右弓左箭襠。同時,訣稍落,仍隨步撫腕,劍揚起,
Your right foot comes down with a hop and lifts up again as your left foot follows to stand where your right foot was, your hex lowering, your sword rising up. See photo 39a [which oddly shows the left leg lifted rather than the right leg, unlike the opponent’s performance of the position in photo 17]:

隨右步向前劈下,立刄,鋒前指,與胸部相對,臂直,手心向左,虎口向前,目視下刄,如第三十九圖甲勢。
Then your right foot comes down forward, the knee bending, making a stance of right leg a bow, left leg an arrow, your hex going to your right wrist, as your sword chops down forward, the blade slanted, the tip pointing forward at chest level, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing forward. Your gaze is toward the lower edge of your sword. See photo 39b:

用法
Function:
敵用第十七勢,閃身帶劍法後退。我即蹤步向其頭頂劈下。
The opponent performs Posture 17 (DODGING BODY, PULLING BACK THE SWORD), so you hop forward and chop down toward his head.
練法
Practice method:
右足落步跳起,訣下落,劍揚起,齊動。左足跟步次動,右足落步,訣撫腕,劍劈下,齊動。
Your right foot comes down with a hop and lifts up again, your left foot following, your hex lowers, and your sword rises up – all moving at the same time. Your right foot comes down, your hex goes to your right wrist, and your sword chops down – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「蹤步」凡跳向前進者,曰蹤步。
“Leaping step” – advancing with a hop.
「跟步」凡在後之足,跟前足繼進,而不超過者,曰跟步。
“Following step” – your rear foot follows your front foot forward without moving ahead of it.

第四十勢 側身掃腿
Posture 40: SIDEWAYS BODY, SWEEPING CUT TO THE LEG

口令(三)
Command: “Three!”
兩足原地不動,身畧左轉。訣起護額,手心向左上,指尖向右。劍由右斜向左下掃出,陂刄,鋒前指,與小腿相對,臂直,手心向左上,虎口向右前,身前探,目視左刄,如第四十圖甲勢。
With your feet staying where they are, your torso slightly turns to left and your hex lifts to guard your forehead, the center of the hand facing upward to the left, the fingers pointing to the right, as your sword sweeps out diagonally downward from right to left, the blade slanted, the tip pointing forward toward the opponent’s lower leg, your right arm straightening, the center of your right hand facing upward to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing forward to the right, your torso reaching forward. Your gaze is toward the left edge of your sword. See photo 40. [There is no photo 40, but it would be the same as photo 19, except with the roles reversed.]
用法
Function:
敵用第十八勢,坐盤截腕法,破我上勢之劈頂。我急側身,以下刄轉向左,掃其小腿。
The opponent performs Posture 18 – SITTING TWISTED, CHECKING CUT TO THE WRIST to defeat your chop to his head, so you quickly turn your torso sideways as you send your sword sweeping across to the left, your sword turning over to cut with the lower edge, cutting to his lower leg.
練法
Practice method:
訣起,劍落,側身,皆為同時動作。
Your hex lifts, your sword lowers into place, and your torso turns sideways – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「側身」偏側不正也,〔詩序〕遇災而懼,側身修行。用於此處,乃指身左向而右傾也。
“Sideways body” – the torso turns to be facing sideways instead of squarely forward. In says in the commentary to the Book of Poems [for poem 187]: “When you encounter fearful disaster, turn away from it and go do something else.” In the set, this means that your torso turns to the left and leans to the right.
「掃腿」凡劍由右而左劈敵腿,手心向上者,為掃腿。
“Sweeping cut to the leg” – to do a chopping action to the opponent’s leg by sending your sword across from right to left, the center of your right hand facing upward.

第四十一勢 抽劍刺喉
Posture 41: WITHDRAW THE SWORD, STAB TO THE THROAT

口令(四)
Command: “Four!”
兩足原地不動,訣仍護額,劍向右後抽回,轉向左前刺出,平刄,鋒向左前,與喉部相對,臂直,手心向下,虎口向左前,身微仰,目視劍鋒,如第四十一圖甲勢。
With your feet staying where they are and your hex still guarding your head, your sword withdraws to the right, the blade turning over, and then stabs out forward to the left, the blade horizontal, the tip pointing forward to the left toward the opponent’s throat, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing downward, the tiger’s mouth facing forward to the left, your torso upright. Your gaze is toward your sword tip. See photo 41:

用法
Function:
敵用第十九勢,提腿斬臂法,拒我右臂。我急抽回讓其劍,乘隙刺其喉。
The opponent performs Posture 19 (LIFTED LEG, SLASHING TO THE ARM) to block your right arm, so you quickly pull back to avoid his sword, then take advantage of the gap by stabbing to his throat.
練法
Practice method:
劍抽回,轉腕向下,身微仰,齊動。劍刺出,身微轉齊動。
Your sword withdraws, your right wrist turns over so that the center of the hand is facing downward, and your torso slightly leans back – all moving at the same time. Your sword stabs out and your torso slightly turns to the left – both moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「抽劍」見第十一勢註。
“Withdraw the sword” – same as in Posture 11.
「刺喉」見前註。
“Stab to the throat” – same action as performed before [in Posture 15 & 37].

第四十二勢 閃腕掃腿
Posture 42: DODGING WRIST, SWEEPING CUT TO THE LEG

口令(一)
Command: “One!”
身畧右轉,右足提起,向左足左前拗步,足尖向右前。同時,訣隨步撫腕,劍抽回,由右下隨步向前掃出,平刄,鋒右指,與腿部相對,臂直,手心向上,虎口向右,身前探,目視前刄,如第四十二圖甲勢。
Your torso slightly turns to the right and your right foot lifts and steps across in front of your left foot to make a twisted stance, the toes turned out to the right, your hex going to your right wrist, as your sword withdraws and then sweeps across downward from the right, the blade horizontal, the tip pointing to the right at leg level, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing upward, the tiger’s mouth facing to the right, your torso reaching forward. Your gaze is toward the forward edge of your sword. See photo 42:

用法
Function:
敵用第二十勢,落步撩腕法,撩我下腕。我急閃腕讓其劍,拗步掃其腿。
The opponent performs Posture 20 (STEP DOWN, RAISING CUT TO THE WRIST), doing a raising cut under your right wrist, so you dodge your wrist away from his sword, then step into a twisted stance and do a sweeping cut to his leg.
練法
Practice method:
劍抽轉,右足提起至左,訣落至右,齊動。右足拗步,劍掃出,訣撫腕,齊動。
Your sword pulls back in an arc, your right foot lifts to the left, and your hex lowers to the right – all moving at the same time. Your right foot steps across to make a twisted stance, your sword sweeps out, and your hex goes to your right wrist – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「閃腕」凡腕畧一轉動,而讓開敵刄者,曰閃腕。
“Dodging wrist” – your right wrist makes a slight arc to avoid the edge of the opponent’s sword.

第四十三勢 上步刺肋
Posture 43: STEP FORWARD, STAB TO THE RIBS

口令(二)
Command: “Two!”
承上勢,左足向右足左前上半步,足尖內扣。右足向左足右前上半步,足尖向外。左足再向右足左前上半步,右足隨向左足右前上一步,曲膝,成右弓左箭襠。同時,訣隨右步向左伸出,手心向後,指尖向上,劍隨右步由臍下向前刺出,立刄,鋒前指,與肋部相對,臂直,手心向左,虎口向前,目視劍鋒,如第四十三圖甲勢。
Continuing from the previous posture, your left foot goes forward a half step in front of your right foot, the toes covering inward, then your right foot goes forward a half step in front of your left foot, the toes turning outward, and your left foot again goes forward a half step in front of your right foot [amounting to three steps walking the edge of a circle]. Then your right foot goes forward a full step in front of your left foot [the fourth step going toward the center of the circle], the knee bending, making a stance of right leg a bow, left leg an arrow, your hex extending to the left, the center of the hand facing to the rear, the fingers pointing upward, as your sword stabs out from your belly, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward at rib level, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing forward. Your gaze is toward the forward edge of your sword. See photo 43:

用法
Function:
敵用第二十一勢,攔臂掃腹法,右刄攔我臂,左刄掃我腹。我急繞步,一面讓其劍,一面追掃其腿,行至第三步時,忽變上步刺其肋。
The opponent performs Posture 21 (BLOCKING CUT TO THE ARM, SWEEPING CUT TO THE BELLY), using the right-facing edge of his sword to do a blocking cut to your right arm, then the left-facing edge to do a sweeping cut to your belly, so you quickly walk in three arcing steps to avoid his sword and chase his leg with a sweeping cut of your own, then after the third step, suddenly switch to stepping forward with a stab to his ribs.
練法
Practice method:
左足先上步,右足繼上步,左足再上步。然後右足上步曲膝,與訣左伸,劍刺出,齊動。
First your left foot steps forward, then your right foot, then your left foot again. Then your right foot steps forward, the knee bending, your hex extends to the left, and your sword stabs out – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「足尖內扣」足尖畧向裏關,謂之足尖內扣。
“Toes covering inward” – the toes are turned slightly inward.

第四十四勢 退步翻撩
Posture 44: RETREAT, OVERTURNED RAISING CUT

口令(三)
Command: “Three!”
身左轉,右足收回點步,左足原地曲膝,訣撫腕,劍隨步抽回翻轉,手心對左頰,虎口向右,立刄,鋒指右前,頭右向,目視劍鋒。
Your torso turns to the left and your right foot withdraws, touching down with the toes, your left knee bending, your hex going to your right wrist, as your sword pulls back, the blade turning over so that the center of your right hand is facing toward your left cheek, the tiger’s mouth facing to the right, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward to the right. Your head is turned to the right, your gaze toward your sword tip. See photo 44a:

右足再向左後退步,膝直,成左弓右箭襠。同時,訣由下後伸,手心向後,劍由上向左後繞,至下,翻向前撩出,立刄,鋒前指,臂直,手心向右,虎口向左下,目前上刄,如第四十四圖甲勢。
Your right foot then retreats to the right rear, the knee straightening, making a stance of left leg a bow, right leg an arrow, your hex extending behind from below, the center of the hand facing to the rear, as your sword arcs to the left, to the rear, downward, and forward with an overturned raising cut, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the right, the tiger’s mouth facing downward to the left. Your gaze is toward the upper edge of your sword. See photo 44b:

用法
Function:
敵用第二十二勢,退步翻撩法,閃開我上勢刺肋之劍,反翻撩我下腕。我急收步抱劍以解之,敵見我抱劍時,又以第二十三勢,上步刺肋法,刺我右肋。我即以退步翻撩法破之。
The opponent performs Posture 22 (RETREAT, OVERTURNED RAISING CUT), dodging away from your stab to his ribs, then doing an overturned raising cut under your right wrist, so you quickly withdraw to a position of embracing your sword to evade his attack. Once he sees you withdraw, he performs Posture 23 (STEP FORWARD, STAB TO THE RIBS) to stab to your right ribs, so you in turn retreat and do an overturned raising cut to his right wrist.
練法
Practice method:
身左轉,右足點步,左足曲膝,訣撫腕,齊動。右足退步,訣後伸,劍翻撩,齊動。
Your torso turns to the left, your right foot touches down with the toes, your left knee bends, and your hex goes to your right wrist – all moving at the same time. Your right foot retreats, your hex extends to the rear, and your sword goes out with an overturned raising cut – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「退步」「翻撩」皆見第二十二勢註。
“Retreat” and “overturned raising cut” – same as in Posture 22.
「點步」一足踏實,一足僅以足尖點地者,為點步。
“Touching down with the toes” – while one foot is flat on the ground, the other touches down only with the toes.

第四十五勢 上步刺肋
Posture 45: STEP FORWARD, STAB TO THE RIBS

口令(四)
Command: “Four!”
右足上半步虛勢,左足原地曲膝,劍轉收回,柄抵小腹,立刄,鋒前指,與心部相對,訣撫腕。
Your right foot goes a half step forward, making an empty stance, your left foot staying where it is, the knee bending, as your sword pulls back, turning over, the handle going near your lower abdomen, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward at solar plexus level, your hex going to your right wrist. See photo 45a:

右足向前落步,曲膝,成右弓左箭襠。同時,訣由左後伸,手心向後,指尖向上,高與左耳斜對,劍隨右步向前刺出,立刄,鋒前指,臂直,手心向左,虎口向上,目視劍鋒,如第四十五圖甲勢。
Then your right foot comes down forward, the knee bending, making a stance of right leg a bow, left leg an arrow, your hex extending behind you, the center of the hand facing to the rear, the fingers pointing upward at ear level, as your sword stabs out forward, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing upward. Your gaze is toward your sword tip. See photo 45b [repeat of photo 43]:

用法
Function:
敵用第二十四勢,退步翻撩之前段,退步抱劍,讓出我上勢之翻撩。我急上步刺其右肋。
The opponent performs Posture 24 (RETREAT, OVERTURNED RAISING CUT) withdrawing to a position of embracing his sword in order to avoid your overturned raising cut, so you quickly step forward and stab to his right ribs.
練法
Practice method:
右足虛步,左足曲膝,劍縮回,訣撫腕,齊動。右足落步,訣後伸,劍刺出,齊動。
Your right foot makes an empty step, your left knee bends, your sword pulls back, and your hex goes to your right wrist – all moving at the same time. Your right foot comes down forward, your hex extends to the rear, and your sword stabs out – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「小腹」人體之部位,臍以下謂之小腹,亦曰少腹。
“Lower abdomen” – the area below the navel.

第四十六勢 退步翻撩
Posture 46: RETREAT, OVERTURNED RAISING CUT

口令(一)
Command: “One!”
身左轉,右足收回點步,左足原地曲膝,訣撫腕,劍隨步抽轉,手心對左頰,虎口向右,立刄,鋒向右前,頭右向,目視劍鋒。
Your torso turns to the left and your right foot withdraws, touching down with the toes, your left knee bending, your hex going to your right wrist, as your sword pulls back, the blade turning over so that the center of your right hand is facing toward your left cheek, the tiger’s mouth facing to the right, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward to the right. Your head is turned to the right, your gaze toward your sword tip. See photo 46a [repeat of photo 44a]:

右足再向左後退步,膝直,成左弓右箭襠。同時訣由下後伸,手心向後,劍由上向左後繞,至下翻向前撩出,立刄,鋒前指,臂直,手心向右,虎口向左下,目視上刄,如第四十六圖甲勢。
Your right foot then retreats to the right rear, the knee straightening, making a stance of left leg a bow, right leg an arrow, your hex extending behind from below, the center of the hand facing to the rear, as your sword arcs to the left, to the rear, downward, and forward with an overturned raising cut, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the right, the tiger’s mouth facing downward to the left. Your gaze is toward the upper edge of your sword. See photo 46b [repeat of photo 44b]:

用法
Function:
敵用第二十五勢,上步刺肋法,刺我右肋。我急收步抱劍,讓其鋒,退步翻刺撩其腕。
The opponent performs Posture 25 (STEP FORWARD, STAB TO THE RIBS) to stab to your right ribs, so you quickly withdraw to a position of embracing your sword, then retreat and do an overturned raising cut to his right wrist.
練法
Practice method:
身左轉,右足點步,左足曲膝,訣撫腕,齊動。右足退步,訣後伸,劍翻撩,齊動。
Your torso turns to the left, your right foot touches down with the toes, your left knee bends, and your hex goes to your right wrist – all moving at the same time. Your right foot retreats, your hex extends to the rear, and your sword goes out with an overturned raising cut – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「曲」屈也,直之反,〔書〕木曰曲直。
“Bending” – the opposite of straightening. It says in the Book of Documents [document 32]: “Wood bends and straightens.”

第四十七勢 上步刺肋
Posture 47: STEP FORWARD, STAB TO THE RIBS

口令(二)
Command: “Two!”
右足上半步虛勢,左足原地曲膝,劍轉縮回,柄抵小腹,立刄,鋒前指,與心部相對,訣撫腕。
Your right foot goes a half step forward, making an empty stance, your left foot staying where it is, the knee bending, as your sword pulls back, turning over, the handle going near your lower abdomen, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward at solar plexus level, your hex going to your right wrist. See photo 47a [repeat of photo 45a]:

右足向前落步,曲膝,成右弓左箭襠。同時,訣由左後伸,手心向後,指尖向上,高與左耳斜對,劍隨右步向前刺出,立刄,鋒前指,臂直,手心向左,虎口向上,目視劍鋒,如第四十七圖甲勢。
Then your right foot comes down forward, the knee bending, making a stance of right leg a bow, left leg an arrow, your hex extending behind you, the center of the hand facing to the rear, the fingers pointing upward at ear level, as your sword stabs out forward, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward, your right arm straightening, the center of the hand facing to the left, the tiger’s mouth facing upward. Your gaze is toward your sword tip. See photo 47b [repeat of photo 43]:

用法
Function:
敵用第二十六勢,退步翻撩法,讓開我劍,翻撩我腕。我又上步刺其右肋。
The opponent performs Posture 26 (RETREAT, OVERTURNED RAISING CUT) avoiding your sword and doing an overturned raising cut to your right wrist, so you again step forward and stab to his right ribs.
練法
Practice method:
右足虛步,左足曲膝,劍縮回,訣撫腕,齊動。右足落步,訣後伸,劍刺出,齊動。
Your right foot makes an empty step, your left knee bends, your sword pulls back, and your hex goes to your right wrist – all moving at the same time. Your right foot comes down forward, your hex extends to the rear, and your sword stabs out – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「上步」前進一步曰上步。
“Step forward” – to advance a full step.
「鋒」兵器之端銳利處也。〔書〕利乃鋒刄。〔孟郊詩〕慷慨丈夫志,可以耀鋒鋩。
“Sword tip” – the sharpest part of the weapon. It says in the Book of Documents [documents 57]: “Sharpen the tips and edges of your blades.” It says in a poem by Meng Jiao [“Venting our Feelings” (another collaboration with Han Yu), Meng cuing with]: “A real man polishes his sword until the tip is sharp…” [Han responding with: “Qu Boyu and Ning Wuzi knew how to respond to circumstances, but Confucius and Yan Hui knew how to behave in the first place.”]

第四十八勢 閃身格腕
Posture 48: DODGING BODY, BRACING CUT TO THE WRIST

口令(三)
Command: “Three!”
身左轉,左足原地曲膝,右膝直,身偏左足。訣至右肘彎處,手心向左,指尖向上。劍隨身轉向左上格,手心對面。
Your torso turns to the left, your left foot staying where it is, the knee bending, your right knee straightening, the weight going onto your left foot, your hex going to the bend of your right elbow, the center of your left hand facing to the right, the fingers pointing upward, as your sword braces upward to the left, the center of your right hand facing toward your face. See photo 48:

右足收向右後退步,左足撤退併步。同時,訣隨步由面前上伸,手心向上,指尖向右,劍亦隨步下落,立刄,鋒指前上,臂微屈,手心緊對右腰,虎口向前,目前視,如第四十八圖甲勢。
Then your right foot retreats a full step and your left foot steps back to stand next to your right foot, your hex extending upward in front of you, the center of the hand facing upward, the fingers pointing to the right, as your sword lowers, the blade vertical, the tip pointing forward and upward, your right arm slightly bending, the center of the hand facing toward the right side of your waist, the tiger’s mouth facing forward. Your gaze is forward.
用法
Function:
敵用第二十七勢,進步劈頂法,劈我頭部。我急閃身偏其劍,遊刄格其腕。
The opponent performs Posture 27 (ADVANCE, CHOP TO THE HEAD) to chop to your head, so you quickly dodge your body away from his sword and send your blade gliding into place with a bracing cut to his wrist.
練法
Practice method:
身左轉,左膝彎,右膝直,訣至右肘,劍左上格,齊動。右足退步,次動。左足併步,訣上伸,劍下落,身起,膝直,齊動。
Your torso turns to the left, your left knee bends, your right knee straightening, your hex goes to your right elbow, and your sword braces upward to the left – all moving at the same time. Your right foot retreats a step and then your left foot steps next to your right foot, your hex extends upward, your sword lowers, and your body rises up, your knees straightening – all moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「格腕」凡以劍格開敵腕者,為格腕。
“Bracing cut to the wrist” – to use your sword to brace away the opponent’s wrist.
「遊刃」〔莊子〕彼節者有間,而刀刄者無厚,以無厚入有間,恢恢乎其於遊刄,必有餘地矣。
“Your blade gliding into place” – It says in Zhuangzi [chapter 3]: “There are spaces between the animal’s joints and my blade is so sharp it has no thickness at all. When that which has no thickness enters where there is already space, then swish, swish, the blade glides through with room to spare.”

第四十九勢 還劍歸原
Posture 49: HANDING OVER THE SWORD, RETURN TO THE ORIGINAL POSITION

口令(停)
Command: “Halt!”
兩足原地不動,訣落至腹,劍由左下後繞至前,右手鬆把,左手下接劍柄,下垂,劍脊緊貼左臂後面,鋒上指,手心向後,虎口向裏。同時,右手掐訣上伸,手心向上,指尖向左,目前視,如第四十九圖甲勢。
With your feet staying where they are, your hex lowers to your belly as your sword arcs downward, to the left, to the rear, and back to the front, at which point your right hand lets go while your left hand takes hold of the sword handle, your left arm hangs down, the spine of the sword against the back of your left arm, the tip pointing upward, the center of the hand facing to the rear, the tiger’s mouth facing inward, and your right hand forms the swordsman’s hex and extends upward, the center of the hand facing upward, the fingers pointing to the left. Your gaze is forward. See photo 49 [repeat of photo 1]:

用法
Function:
練至此,敵即用第二十九勢,退步掤劍,亦作還劍歸原勢收束。
After the opponent has completed Posture 29 (RETREAT, FLICKING CUT), you both perform this closing posture.
練法
Practice method:
劍左繞至前,訣落至腹,齊動。右手鬆把,左手接劍,齊動。左臂下垂,右訣上伸,齊動。
Your sword arcs to the left and back to the front, and your hex lowers to your belly – both moving at the same time. Your right hand lets go of your sword and your left hand takes hold of it – both moving at the same time. Your left arm hangs down and your right hand’s swordsman’s hex extends upward – both moving at the same time.
附註
Terminology:
「還劍」此劍起勢,劍在左手,收勢,仍以劍交還左手,故曰還劍。
“Handing over the sword” – in the beginning posture, your sword is in your left hand, and so in the closing posture, your sword is passed back to your left hand.
「歸原」收勢與起勢同,有始有終,是謂歸原。
“Return to the original position” – the closing posture and beginning posture are the same, and thus going from the beginning to the end involves returning to the beginning.

[The postscript below was later added to the 1936 manuscript.]

三才劔啚解後序 吳一鶴季民
POSTSCRIPT BY WU YIHE, CALLED JIMIN

歲壬午。石港胥君吉六自西安歸。明年九月。謁余於壽寧泉側陳氏之庽。縷陳生平困苦。并出示所著三才劔啚解。屬為一言。嗚呼。余文弱書生耳。今且老。安知所謂劔者。然吉六習之精。知之深。而其為文也切。故雖以余之無似。而按啚體會。輒悠然為之神往。而不能已。蓋吉六幼懷大志。習王家拳。有內功。困於鄉里。鬱鬱無所施。會南京有中央國術館之設。遂毅然舍其所業之酒坊而往學焉。此三才劔啚解。即其練習純熟後之所編著也。吉六既畢業。師若友見其宅心忠實。畀之以事。遞經展轉。進任中國農民銀行榆處文書分處辦事陝行經濟調查處。及中中交農四行聯合办事處陝分處調查組組長。其職務日益發展。而遽萌歸志。當事者不能留也。其言曰。謙離父母又六年矣。聞父喪而道途阻梗。不克奔也。心滋戚矣。母氏雖強健。今其年亦逾八十。定省之職再缺。更將何以為人。審乎此。可見吉六之於國術。固大異乎好勇鬥狼。不顧父母之養者矣。其孝行不尤足多乎哉。昔吉六之尊人懷澄先生年七十。余撰文為祝。嘗推明孝弟之義。冀其子弟世守之。今觀吉六之行。窃幸前言之驗。而又歎其令人足重者。不在乎技術文字之微也。余未嘗學劔。不能明其術。故僅書其犖犖大者。以為後序。俾世之習吉六者。毋徒視為有志之士云。
中華民國卅二年十月如皋吳一鶴謹識
In 1942, Xu Yiqian of Shigang Village [in Jiangsu] returned from Xi’an. In September of this year, he called upon me at Chen Family Manor, beside Shouning Fountain, and talked to me about his life’s work. He showed me his manuscript for Illustrated Sancai Sword and urged me to write a few words for it. Alas, I am just a frail old scholar and cannot speak knowledgeably about swords. Xu on the other hand has practiced it to the point of mastery and has a profound understanding of it, not to mention that he writes with a literary precision. Therefore it does not matter that I am so unworthy, for he is the one showing you what to do and he sets an example that is endlessly inspiring.
  When Xu was young, he was already very ambitious. He learned Wang Family Boxing, which is an art of internal exercises. His life in his hometown was one of ease rather than hard toil, but when the Central Martial Arts Institute was established in Nanjing, he firmly decided to leave his duties at the family wine shop and go study at the Institute. This book is a product of his diligent training.
  By the time he had graduated, his instructors had witnessed his sincerity and thereupon gave him his own responsibilities [particularly within the editorial department]. This was followed by a roundabout process in which he went on to became a financial examiner at the Yulin branch of the Agricultural Bank of China, then chief examiner at the Four Allied Banks in Xi’an, his duties continually expanding, his ambitions increasing each time, unable to stay put in one position.
  By his own account, Xu was away from his parents for six years. When he heard his father was dying, the roads were blocked and he could not manage to get home in time, something to regret. Although his mother is still healthy, she is now over eighty years old, and yet he does not often inquire into her health, exhibiting perhaps a lack of human concern. Taking these things into consideration, it would seem that although Xu is superbly talented at martial arts, he is somewhat inattentive about the well-being of his parents, and thus he does not exactly appear to be overflowing with filial feeling.
  When Xu’s father, Xu Huaicheng, had turned seventy, I wrote him a small composition to congratulate him, highlighting how filial his sons are and how well they will look after him in his old age. When I think now about how Xu may not have lived up to my words, I nevertheless also have to think about how his skills and writings have helped so many people, which indeed gives me cause to sigh with admiration for him.
  Because I have not studied the sword art, I am not qualified to discuss such skills, and therefore I can only write about more general things. Though I make this postscript in service of spreading Xu’s teachings, please do not imagine that I am an authority on the matter.
  - sincerely written by Wu Yihe of Rugao [in Jiangsu], Oct, 1943

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